Disclosure: My family received a complimentary stay at the Element Seaport Boston in exchange for this post. All opinions in this post, however, are mine.
There are many ways to travel with kids: a big adventure to someplace well out of your comfort zone, a trip to a beloved destination you visit every year, a reunion with family or friends, a road trip to a national park, or sun-kissed days at the beach. The options are endless, driven by how much time and money you have available. I’m a fan of all of the types of traveling with kids—including the “staycation.”
A staycation is a trip you take at home, or very near your home. It can be time to sleep in, “play tourist” in your hometown, or even clean out that linen closet—whatever you need to recharge your batteries. My family had such a staycation earlier this month, courtesy of the Element Seaport Boston, and it was great way to connect with one another amid the craziness of our busy lives (and, they have a special rate for New England folks). I’ve always been a fan of staycations, and have found them to be an excellent travel option for families of kids both big and small. Today, I’m sharing with you four reasons to do a staycation this year.
When the folks at Element Seaport Boston invited my family for a visit, I immediately knew it was what we needed. My husband, kids, and I have been so consumed with weekend obligations, that it’s been easy to feel like we’re missing one another. A night in a hotel—taking us out of our element (pun intended)—would be a fun way to be together, leaving day-to-day obligations behind. The fact that it was a quick drive from our home to the Element Seaport Boston was also a plus. Also, the hotel has easy accessibility to major highways and plenty of parking.
Another draw was the Element Boston Seaport’s close proximity to Boston visitor destinations—including the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Children’s Museum, and a number of excellent restaurants. The North End and the aquarium aren’t too far away either. This made the hotel a great spot to have as a home base when exploring the city.
Tip: When choosing your staycation spot, making convenience—both getting there and getting around—high on your list of criteria.
I like to do staycations in the winter, when tourists aren’t as inclined to visit New England (it’s cold here, after all!). Having flexibility about when your staycation will take place gives you an opportunity to get a good rate at the hotel of your choice, and perhaps even upgrade to a larger hotel room. If your family is like mine, having a bit of extra space to spread out can be the difference between a restful time away and an extra dose of sibling bickering.
Rooms at the Element Seaport Boston come in a number of configurations—from the standard one-bedroom rooms to rooms with living spaces and work areas. Rooms can include kitchenettes as well, which means budget-conscious visitors can make their own meals during their staycations. This is especially beneficial to parents of I-am-always-hungry kids (like mine) who need to keep snacks on hand and who don’t want to eat out for every meal.
Other ways to keep the costs down include visiting your local library in advance of your staycation for discounted museum tickets, checking out free festivals in the area, and asking the hotel concierge for tips. Even if you’re local, getting advice from the hotel staff can give you an advantage for planning your days.
Tip: Keep an eye out for deals and plan out your meals, and you can make your staycation an affordable vacation choice.
The first thing I did when the Element Boston Seaport reached out to me was to see if they had a pool (they do). My kids love to swim, and there’s something about a hotel pool that makes them extra excited. Is it riding the elevator to the pool in their bathing suits? Sleeping upstairs from the pool? A pool is a must-have requirement for any of my family’s staycations.
In some cases, especially when my kids were younger, all they wanted to do was jump in and out of the hotel pool for hours (the silver lining was that the feel asleep early). It didn’t matter where the hotel was located were as long as the pool was there. Now that they are seven and nine years old, I look for staycation destinations that offer a combination of fun things to do on property, as well as intriguing destinations within walking distance. But if all you’re up for on your staycation is reading a good book and sleeping in, that’s perfect. It’s your vacation, after all!
Tip: Fill your staycation with your kind of fun and make sure to leave plenty of time for relaxing.
TheElement Boston Seaport hotel, located on D Street, around the corner from the BCEC, is part of a renaissance of sorts for downtown Boston. Perhaps explosion would be a better description! New buildings are rapidly filling the skyline, with businesses, apartments, and restaurants moving in, changing what had been a desolate area of the city to a bustling destination. My husband and I remember when the Seaport area wasn’t a vibrant part of the city, so the visit was intriguing for us, too. We enjoyed walking around with our kids, explaining how Boston has changed. They are old enough to appreciate our stories and to see a new part of the city.
Tip: A staycation offers you time to see your hometown, or a region not too far from your home, in a new light. Sometimes, a new perspective is the best souvenir to bring home from a vacation.
Does a staycation sound good to you now? Consider planning one this year for your family, and enjoy exploring your hometown!
***Thank you to the Element Seaport Boston for our stay.