"Big Four" Highlights


Planning a ‘Staycation’

4 fun ways for a home-based vacation

By Peter C. Kleponis, Ph.D.

A weak economy and high unemployment have changed the way many families think about vacations. Instead of relaxing at an expensive resort, many are traveling on a tight budget. They are settling for more economical spots or staying home altogether for a “staycation.” While not having their usual vacation may be difficult for some, I see it as a great opportunity for growing closer to one’s family and to God.

Many men need to be reminded what a vacation is all about. It is a time to relax and renew one’s self. It is a time to get away (vacate) from work and all its stresses and to reconnect with the family. Vacations are a time for creating wonderful memories. When our kids are grown, we all want them to have fond memories of childhood vacations. The best memories focus on relationships, and they don’t cost a lot of money.

Vacations are also a time to renew one’s relationship with God. They can provide the opportunity to attend daily Mass, enjoy spiritual reading, or just time talking with God. I have found vacations that focus on nature to be a great way to reconnect with God. It’s easy to thank God for his creation and all the blessings in my life when I am hiking through the mountains, sitting on a beach, or even driving through the country.

A staycation can be a great opportunity to grow closer to your family, create some wonderful memories and reconnect with God. With a staycation, there is no need to worry about transportation, lodging, meals or souvenir gifts to buy. There is no need to stop the mail and the newspaper, or put the dog in the kennel. All of this eliminates a lot of stress and is much easier on the wallet.

Although you are staying at home, a staycation provides many opportunities for creating great family memories. It forces you to find activities and attractions in your own community. People are often surprised at all the great things they can do locally – museums, historic sites, sports, theater, nature, etc. Even a day at the public pool with your kids can be great fun!

If you are planning a staycation, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • A staycation is not a quest to see how many activities you can cram in. It is a time to relax, so plan accordingly. Include the whole family in planning process. They will thank you for not filling every moment of the day with activities.
  • It is not a time to catch up on work. Leave your laptop at work and let everyone know that you will be unreachable during your vacation. The nature of some men’s work will make this impossible, so at least limit your connection to the office to certain time periods to check e-mail.
  • Be sure to plan some special times together with your wife. Remember, this is her vacation too. Plan at least one date. Also, think of how happy she would be if you and the kids took over some of her household chores during the staycation! Most wives would rejoice over just couple of hours of peace and quiet.
  • Make time each day to spend with the Lord. This will add to your relaxation and make your vacation more memorable. Without all the hassle of travel, you can make part of your staycation a mini-retreat. You can even include your family in this. Consider going to daily Mass and taking one child each day, and then going out to breakfast afterward with that child. It will give you and each child some valuable one-on-one time while building your and their faith.


Even in these troubling economic times, God provides opportunities for men to grow closer to Him and their families. By proper planning, and not falling into some common vacation pitfalls, a staycation can be fun, relaxing and memorable for everyone! You may even decide to plan a staycation more often!

Peter C. Kleponis, Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Therapist and Assistant Director of Comprehensive Counseling Services in West Conshohocken, Pa. His website is MaritalHealing.com