Sjoe, it’s been a rough year hey! Most of us really need some down time this December but most of us didn’t get a raise, most of us aren’t expecting a year-end bonus, and most of us can’t afford our annual family holiday.

Don’t despair! Now is the time to have a staycation, a stay-at-home vacation. Yip, we know it’s not like going overseas or even down to the coast or up to the family farm, but if it’s all you’ve got then you’ve just gotta make the best of it. 

There are two kinds of staycations:

  1. Taking a cheap, short break not too far from home (because petrol) but just far enough to feel different from the norm. Web sites like Budget Getaways are fantastic resources. They feature accommodation all over South Africa at prices that start as low as R50 pp/pn upwards. There are lots of sites like this so get Googling! And of course there’s AirBnB which has really taken off in a big way in SA. We’re one of the few countries where more than 50% of all trips booked are domestic.  
  2. Literally staying at home in your own house but being on holiday and doing the kinds of things you’d normally do on your hols. Last year we gave you our top tips for staycating and they still apply. This year we offer you an awesome list of dos and don’ts when on staycation. 

Staycation Dos:

  • Do get the total buy-in of the whole family. A staycation won’t easily work unless everyone is committed and approaches it with the right attitude.
  • Do lay some ground rules to get – and keep – everyone in a holiday frame of mind. For instance, build a holiday environment at home by making sure you have none of the usual friend and family visits, computer activities, phone calls, television, etc.
  • Do let everyone – including yourself – off the hook for the duration. This means none of the usual cleaning, washing, meals and chores, but rather a focus on fun, laughter, memory-making, playing, talking and easy eating, just like when you’re on holiday. Then when it’s all over, everyone gets stuck in and helps with a big clean-up.
  • Do get the music right and keep it going to help maintain a holiday mood. Have theme activity days and use music to keep the themes alive.
  • Do take time out – literally! Hide all clocks and watches and eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, wake when your body says so, etc.
  • If you really want to up your game, do photograph your activities and outings just as you would on a traditional vacation, then give yourselves 15 minutes of social media time together every day and let every member of the family choose one photo to add to a daily holiday post. Soon all your friends will be wanting to staycate too!

Staycation Don'ts

  • Don’t allow anyone to kill the mood. Staycating requires commitment and imagination and you may need to resort to devious forms of encouragement for resident teenagers. Younger kids will love staycating!
  • Don’t plan the staycation on your own. Involving the whole family in the pre-planning and choices of what to do, see, eat, etc., will gain their buy-in.
  • Don’t set out thinking that you know your town or city. If you’ve never explored it properly – and let’s face it, who has – you’re in for very pleasant surprises. Check out the museums, galleries and parks you normally drive past.
  • Don’t underestimate the joys to be found when walking and cycling. You see so much more this way than you ever do by car. And while you’re about it, don’t underestimate the joys of going off the beaten track.
  • Don’t wear your normal clothes. Staycating calls for holiday gear and dressing the part will help you all to feel the part.


Above all, have fun! That’s what holidays are for, right?