Vacations on the cheaper side

Updated: Jul 6

Are you looking to get away but just can't bring yourself to spend the money for an airplane ticket, or the inflated prices of gas now? Have you ever heard of a Stay-cation? Have you looked into activities in your home town that you have yet to explore? I'm here to tell you all about how you can give yourself a vacation without spending an arm and a leg to do so. In fact, you won't even need to leave your city! There's plenty to do right there at home!


What Is a Staycation?

If you’re needing a break from work or life and longing for a vacation, but are not looking forward to spending thousands of dollars on one, a staycation may be for you. Just like a vacation, a staycation gets you the break you need, the rest you want, the fun you crave, and you don't need to max out your credit cards or dip into your savings (like you would on a vacation) to do so! A staycation is just like a vacation, only with less travel, spending, and stress. Did you know the average travel budget is about $223 per person (per day)?! That’s a LOT for some time away, and if you’re a family of five, go ahead and tack on even more money to your total. So how would you go about taking a staycation? What could you do to make your staycation extra relaxing with simple memorable events to do with the family while also keeping it under budget? Well, I'll tell you!


1. Plan to call off work ahead of time. Whether you leave your home town or not, it’s important to use your paid time off to take a break from your life - for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. So, just like when you plan for a vacation, you’ll get the most benefit from your time off if you let your boss, coworkers, and clients know you'll be on vacation and will not be available during that time. If you need things done during your time off, do them ahead of time so you won't be thinking about what you need to do when you get back.


2. You'll need to set a budget. How much COULD you spend on your staycation? Give yourself a starting point and go from there.


3. Search online for free and cheap things to do in your city. You can find free museums (or specific days at museums where you can go in free), free music concerts, walking, biking, or audio tours - all happening in your city. If you can't find tours online, check your phone for a walking or audio tour app. Sometimes a park will show a family movie on certain nights. Meetup.com or AirBnB Experiences may also be good places to look for things to do in your home town, as would local libraries and local community websites. Compile a list of all the things you’d want to do while on your time off and how much each would cost. Here are some other apps you may find useful in your search:

  • Field Trip. This app is like having a personal tour guide to your city in your pocket. As you walk around, the app will notify you with a pop-up if you’re by any cool spots worth checking out. It also shares interesting tidbits and trivia.

  • Eventbrite. This all-in-one platform is a great source for discovering interesting (and often free!) events in your area. Scroll through regularly so that you don’t miss anything exciting.

  • Like a Local. Play tourist at home with an app designed to help visitors experience cities at their best. Simply pull up a map around you to see what’s going on, or take a look at the livestream for a regularly updated list of what’s worth checking out.


4. Create an itinerary. Plan what you’d like to do for each day. You don’t need to have everything to the exact hour. Actually, it’s better to have more flexibility in case something comes up that wasn’t planned. Here are some ideas for you to think about for your week.

  • Sleep in longer than usual. Turn off any alarms for the morning, keep all the curtains closed, remind your kiddos the night before that you’ll be resting in the morning and they can go straight on the electronic device of their choosing if they don’t want to sleep in, too. Just slumber the morning away, cuddled with your loved one/s, if that’s your preference.

  • If you plan to see a show, be sure you have the tickets for it.

  • If you want to take a day trip, figure out where you’d like to go, if you’d want to stay the night there, and what you’d like to do while you’re there.

  • Plan one of your days to be a spa day for yourself (or each other). Whether you decide to spend the money to go get yourself a pedicure, manicure, body massage, or just do it for each other and save the expenses, you need that time to unwind and relax.

  • Make at least one of your days where you can go outside and bond with nature - a park, a beach, a pool, camping. Take a day to enjoy nature.

  • Have a day where you do all of the things you enjoy doing but feel you never have time for - read or write a book, watch a tv series or movie trilogy, put a puzzle together, complete that DIY project.

  • Have a date night and/or family night. Go out for dinner or order in your favorite foods. Play indoor games with your kids like Hide and Seek or The Floor Is Lava. Go see a movie at the theater. Make sure you get snacks and drinks for you all to enjoy while spending time together!

5. Once you’ve got a basic plan of what you’d like to do, start preparing for your staycation. Buy things you’d want to have beforehand so you’re not shopping on your vacation. Prepare your home to be clean and fresh, scents everywhere that you love that would make you feel like you’re somewhere else.


Having a vacation doesn’t need to be expensive.

Just budget for it, plan for it, and don’t overdo it. Sometimes, less is more. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Just take it easy, have some fun, make some memories. Go take the staycation you deserve!

Sources:

https://www.ramseysolutions.com/saving/i-need-a-staycation

https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/07/22/8-resources-for-finding-free-things-to-do-in-your-area

https://thetravelhack.com/travel-tips/10-free-things-to-do-in-every-city/

https://www.moving.com/tips/free-activities-in-a-new-city/

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