By Diana Reese
For a staycation to work, you have to be in vacation mode even though you're not at some exotic location. That means no skipping off to doctor's offices or checking work e-mail on your phone or doing the millions of other things on most families' to-do list, says Wixon. "Treat it like a real vacation so it doesn't feel as though you're 'sacrificing' to do a staycation instead," he says.
Prepare in advance as you would for a traditional vacation, says Mandi Ehman, a West Virginia mom of four daughters and founder and editor of the site Life... Your Way: Finish work projects, get laundry done, hire a dog-sitter, throw a few meals in the freezer for when you return. Then you'll be less tempted to fall into your usual home and work routines.