Staycation With Medically Complex Kids

Local vacationing may fit your family’s needs best. Staycations can provide many of the benefits of distance travel and might be exactly what your family or child needs!

Staying local doesn’t have to mean staying at home. Checking in to a local hotel or renting an AirBnB can help create that vacation ambiance without the hassle and expense of traveling far from home. For parents who feel uncertain about vacationing far from home with their medically complex child, staycations offer a less stressful experience that lets you push your boundaries without overextending yourself.

Written by Becky Oakley

Becky is a Family Nurse Practitioner who has dedicated her life and nursing career to caring for children with life-changing diagnoses and disabilities. Becky adores her six children, who inspire her daily. Brades’ Place is named after her medically complex son, Brady, who taught her that children with unique traits do amazing things every day.

Published June 2, 2022

Planning a staycation


Properly planning and arranging your staycation is essential to getting the most out of it.


Reflect, identify needs, set expectations

Identifying your hopes and expectations for the staycation is the first step. Ask yourself what will make this experience a success for you and your family? Are you hoping to rest and relax, to create exciting new memories, or to feel closer as a family? Knowing what is most important to you will help you plan for success, and help you recover when things seem to be going poorly. Take a moment to reflect on these topics:

Vacationing is meaningful to me because______.

Vacationing worries me because ______.

For me/my child/my family traveling would help us ______.

This staycation will be a success if it makes me feel______.

I feel comfortable traveling _______ (miles/hours/minutes) from (home/my medical team/a hospital).

You can find a more thorough expectations worksheet here!


Now that you understand what’s important to you, choose staycation activities that align with your goals. Here are a few ways to start planning your itinerary:

What do tourists do when they visit your area? Look online for top family activities in your area. You may find that some of the attractions you take for granted are more interesting than you thought!

Search for family-friendly attractions that will be accessible for your medically complex child.

If you grew up in the same area you live in now, think back on your favorite places and activities. Take a trip down memory lane, and show your children what it was like when you were their age!



Staycation Tips


Bring the exotic home by having ethnically themed activities and meals each day (themes like Hawaii day, Italy day, Mexico day, etc.). Enjoy travel videos and documentaries from other lands; even exploring on Google Earth together can be fun!

Make new routines at the house. Sleep in, stay up late, switch up mealtime, and make it feel like you’re on vacation!

Set ground rules. Explore your priorities (spend time together, make new memories, relax, etc.) and set rules to help those happen.

Put yourself in “Vacation Mode”. Take vacation days from work, answer your phone selectively, try and minimize housekeeping, and generally act as if you were out of town.

It’s OK to do activities with only some family members. Be upfront about it and take a lot of pictures and videos to share when you get home. You can even “bring along” those still at home with a video call.

You May Also Like…

Plane Travel With Medically Complex kids

Plane Travel With Medically Complex kids

Air travel can get you to your
destination with just a few hours
in-flight! With planning, extra time, and assistance from TSA and airline staff your family can fly right through the air travel experience with your medically complex child.

Packing To Travel With Medically Complex kids

Packing To Travel With Medically Complex kids

Packing well is essential to a great trip. Having the right items (and knowing where to find them) helps keep the focus on the fun, the people, and the amazing memories you’re making!