We won’t be getting a vacation this year. My husband will get the time off, but we don’t have the finances to go anywhere, so what special thing can we do before school starts up again in a little more than two weeks.
This certainly won’t be the first time we have a staycation. To be honest, most of our “vacation” time was spent traveling the two hundred fifty or so miles to and from our parents’ houses. When my father was ill, and before my oldest started school, we would drive down one weekend, my husband would take my father’s car home so he could work, and then return the next weekend. We did this at least once a month.
In those ensuing years, I was able to travel a bit with help from friends, and my husband went to his mom’s with the kids for a weekend or to ComicCon, and we did many road trips – day trips – just to get away from our four walls, which always seemed to be in need of housekeeping. It still does.
What’s a family to do?
We are fortunate to live in and around the capital of New York, and so there are many options for day trips from amusement parks to historical sites, horse racing, and shopping. We recently did a quick overnight to Destiny USA, the largest mall in New York, and very similar, if not in size and scope, to the Mall of America. It was like a mini-vacation, and my husband and son checked off nine new comic stores (in less than twenty-four hours) while my daughter and I went shopping at Lush and drank bubble tea at Kung Fu Tea. We’d never been there before, and so it was nice. It was different. And it was really not expensive at all.
Where to start?
Tour books, maps, they can even make reservations for you. I actually prefer to do this myself since we rent our car from Enterprise, and this trip was free because of points accumulation.
We booked our hotel (in the carr on our way to Syracuse) online. We didn’t find out the hotel until after we chose and paid for it, but we got a comfortable $78 room with free breakfast for $46.
Know before you go
In NY, we have a wonderful I Love NY app that offers you suggestions on where to visit, where to eat, and what to do. Google your own state, and discover what’s right in your backyard.
Look for discounts
Again, use AAA. I always forget to ask about a AAA discount when I’m at home, but it’s available in many places. Military, senior, and student discounts are also often available. Look online for special offers, coupons, and recommendations.
Buy an inexpensive journal in the dollar section of Target or any dollar store. Use your cell phone camera to take photos of the places you’ve been, and the family you’re with.
One of the things that amazes me is discovering the “tourist” things to do in my “hometown”. We spend all of our time traveling somewhere else that we forget that people often are traveling to our neck of the woods, and we should take some time to explore our own environs.
Here are some suggestions for the central New York region, whether you’re local or visiting from afar:
1. ESAM – Empire State Air Museum
3. Six Flags Great Escape and the Lake George Area
4. VIA Aquarium
8. Niagara Falls – New York, Canada (You will need a valid passport for travel to Canada. Visit the State Dept. for more information.)
9. Destiny USA