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Betsy Kerekes shares a how-to from her friends’ innovative and educational staycation.

The Staffords [not their real name], a family of ten, did the math for their summer vacation plan of renting a house out of state for one week. The $1,500-a-week home, plus the gas to get there and back, made the idea of a staycation more appealing.  

The Staffords realized they would save thousands of dollars by putting a unique twist on the concept of staycation. 

“We clipped a thousand dollars cash to the chalkboard in our house,” Hank said. “Then we told the kids to write down everything they wanted to do, eat, see, whatever. My wife, Bertha, collected their answers and tallied up the results.” 

They went go-karting, geo-caching, visited the planetarium, went on hikes, and watched a lot of family movies, among other activities.  




One major highlight of the week was their trip to the grocery store’s frozen-food aisle. 

“We picked out all the junk food,” Hank said. “The onion rings, French fries, chicken nuggets, everything. And for two days the kids got to eat all the foods we normally discourage, or at least limit.”  

They also hit up the ice-cream aisle, letting each child choose their own carton. When a fellow shopper asked why they were buying their children whole quarts of ice cream, Hank explained, “We could spend $4 per kid at the ice cream shop in town, where they’d get a cone with two scoops. Or, for the same amount of money, they could each get their own carton.”  

The woman couldn’t disagree with his logic. 

“We told the kids they could share or not share, their choice. They didn’t need to label their cartons. Everyone knew whose was whose.” 

The family also ate out far more than usual, taking careful note of the cost. For instance, two 16-piece buckets of fried chicken from KFC cost $70.  




“We let the kids know how much everything cost,” Hank said. “We researched all of our food and activities, adding everything up. It was a math lesson as well as a life lesson.” 

Who says staycations can’t be both educational and fun?  


Click to tweet:
Who says staycations can’t be both educational and fun? #CatholicMom


I encourage any parents looking for an alternative to the cost and hassle of the typical family vacation to consider the experience of the Staffords. 

“I feel confident that this is a vacation the kids will look back on fondly and remember forever,” Hank said. 



Copyright 2023 Betsy Kerekes
Images: Canva