By Rheanna Christine, National Guard Spouse

As military families, we have such a unique opportunity to take “extended vacations” in places we might never have the opportunity to see. One of my own personal examples of this was Oklahoma City. I couldn’t imagine a scenario that would have taken me to that city except for the military. It was a remarkable experience, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Staycations are not just simply a way to avoid traveling far from home. They can be, and should be, so much more! Whether you are staying local in a hotel or simply making a conscious effort to take time off of work and stay at home, it should be a time of rest and relaxation.

There are three reasons that I love a staycation:

1. Cost

Avoiding the high cost of travel these days is probably one of my favorite things about taking a staycation. When you eliminate a plane, train or automobile, it can significantly reduce the cost. Living here in the DC area we quickly discovered that traveling to and from here is expensive. When we were on the west coast, it wasn’t quite as big of a deal to hop on a plane to a vacation destination. Here, it doesn’t matter where we are going, for a family of five air fare is not cheap. We were going to have to get creative with our vacations!

2. Love Where You Are

I’m a firm believer in trying to fall in love with your new home. While there are some of us that might not relish the idea of being in Alaska where moose use your front yard as their breakfast table. There are others that see it as the adventure it could be! It doesn’t have to be a miserable existence. Now is the time to take advantage of where you live. It’s an opportunity to learn about our great country and perhaps find the one thing that can connect you to your new home. What better way to do that but then to make your new adventure a vacation!

3. Memories

The opportunities for fantastic memories, when you aren’t stressing about travel, or spending huge amounts of money are endless. Yes, there was something all too precious and special about taking my children to Disneyland for the first time, but there is something even more precious about just spending time with them.

The Hotel Staycation

Get out and explore your town. Do all the touristy things that one might do when vacationing in your part of the world. I hear what some of you might be thinking. “I’m stationed in Minot, North Dakota! What could there possibly be to do in Minot, North Dakota?” A quick jaunt over to the North Dakota Tourism website and you will find a list of 25 must-see attractions. Sure, a couple of them are golf courses, but there’s still a list of 20 things that people from there believe are really awesome! And that’s just the point of a hotel staycation. You want to experience the place you live from people who are either choosing to vacation there or from people who live there and love it. The Hotel Staycation is also perfect for the quick little get away with your significant other.

The At Home Staycation

I’ve always found this one to be a bit more tricky. It is so hard to be at your home with time off but not take that time off to do all the little things you tell yourself to do when you have time off. If you can master the art of the at-home staycation, it can be the ultimate in money-saving vacations. These types of staycations are really fun with your children. You don’t have to fit into a hotel room or pay for more than one. Sit down and make a list of all the places you can drive to, places that they want to go to but never get to, restaurants you’ve wanted to try, and make that your vacation. My kids have always wanted to go to their elementary school and play on the playground when there is no school. It’s the little things like this can be exciting to a child. They don’t need tons of money spent on them, or extravagant hotels to make them happy. The memories of special times spent as a family are just as precious.

Check the PCSgrades’ blog for local Out & About blogs with listing of events and activities in your area. There is also a series of blogs called Fun Day Trips,  Bucket Lists, and Date Night that have some great ideas for things things to do locally.

Author: Rheanna Christine is a PCSgrades’ Blogger Affiliate currently based in Washington, DC. When she isn’t writing, she stays at home with her three children. She has been featured in Military Spouse Magazine, USA Today, and National Guard and Reserve Magazine. In 2016, she co-founded and launched SpouseTalks, an interactive forum targeted to all branches of the Guard and Reserves, with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). She and her high school sweetheart hubby have been living this military life for almost fifteen years. Visit her blog at