The stock market goes up, the stock market goes down. Gas prices go up, gas prices go down. So does food, and everything else. It’s hard to know how to plan your family vacation on a budget when everything financial seems to be built on sand. Fortunately, the staycation can help save both family fun and the family dollar. Learning how to have fun at home can not only help save money, but perhaps even be a little gentler on the environment with less transportation.
So, what to do on this economized adventure? If you are at a loss for activities, you can brainstorm by exploring all the places in your region that have been known as tourist destinations and meccas. You know, the stuff you may have overlooked because it was an everyday backdrop to you. Think of the metaphor of the guy who lives in Manhattan his whole life, but has never been to the Empire State Building because it’s right there. Most places have something like this that perhaps you have overlooked. Look at your region’s newspaper for ads about recreation, or type your region’s name plus the word “recreation” in a search engine. With all the possibilities out there, something is bound to come up.
Of course, this all boils down to what you and your family enjoy doing together. If you are into the arts, most town centers feature some kind of outdoor concert series. These sorts of things are geared for general audiences, especially when held in the afternoon or early evening. Many times they are free, or nearly free. The same holds for art galleries and museums. Maybe look for amusement parks or water parks, they can be a nice part of summer fun. Other options might be some kind of fair or festival. State fairs, county fairs, and Renaissance fairs often take place in the summer. Most likely, there will be some activity to fit almost any budget.
For the nature buff or outdoor enthusiast, check out the park systems in your area. On the national, state, and even local level, you will probably find some hidden treasure. Or perhaps, a place convenient to you that may become your favorite swimming hole, fishing spot, hiking trail. Maybe it will just be a place where you can be one with nature. All without having to deal with planes, trains, and huge gas bills to get to it.
It might be fun to try out a new restaurant, or go to one you haven’t been to for a long time. On a staycation, you get to play tourist in your hometown. One way to do this is trying out all the restaurants you never get to because you needed to save money for when you are on vacation. Well, on your staycation, you now have the opportunity to do so. The money you save on airline tickets and other far reaching transportation can now be allocated to your food budget. There’s always that place that you thought you’d save for ‘one day’, or the new place you were too busy to try out. It’s your staycation, your splurge. Why not go for it? I can taste the feasts already.
With regards to lodging, you can stay at home. But there’s always the option of local lodging close to home. It might be an adventure to experience your hometown from a different standpoint. Most places have websites where you can check out the amenities and prices before you leave. You can generally make reservations online as well if you want to plan ahead. It may satisfy the urge to get away, yet without the hassle of long-term travel.
If you choose to stay at home, the real challenge will probably be getting into the mentality of seeing your residence in vacation mind. When you go to a hotel and don’t like the drapes, you don’t go out and buy new ones, do you? It may be tough to get out of the habit, but for the duration of your staycation, try holding off as many household chores as possible. This is, after all, your vacation. Take care of all the chores that will drive you nuts if left undone before you embark at your stay-at-home venture. Don’t stress yourself or your family too much about it, because after all, you don’t want to spend your staycation recovering from overwork. As best you can, try to get your place prepared ahead of time. Then, you’ll probably have a better chance of sitting back and relaxing during your time off.
Another option is to have a picnic in your backyard, or a barbeque on your patio. If you live in an apartment, why not try your local park you and do it there (check your local regulations if you need a permit)? You could always spend a day doing outdoor activities, whether at home or your local beach. Even a stroll down the street with your loved one and/or family may give you a perspective of your everyday life that you never had before. However, hosting a party may not be the best idea because all of the work entailed to arrange it. The idea is to minimize effort, and maximize leisure.
Whatever you choose to do, wherever you choose to stay, hopefully your staycation will be enjoyable. Enjoying your time off without spending all your time and money on travel might make it more relaxing, for you and your wallet. It can be a way to reconnect with your region that maybe you haven’t seen in awhile, or perhaps at all. Enjoy yourself, and have fun!