A staycation is a great way to relax while reducing the expense and time it takes for out of town travel. Perhaps born out of peer pressure for a great response whenever someone asks “so, what did you do on your vacation?” the staycation – vacationing in the town where you live – is a big thing.
Not just can maneuvering through the airport be stressful, but, according to the Department of Transportation, the average U.S. domestic airfare in 2015 was near $400 per passenger! But with a little bit of planning, it’s possible to have an amazing time and save money, right in your hometown.
Plan Your Staycation Fun
It’s time to get excited and creative to start planning out your itinerary! Think about what’s near you. Places you’ve heard others talk about, but haven’t had a chance to visit yet. Here are some suggestions by personality type –
- History buff: Local museums
- Nature lover: Scenic trails, beaches, parks
- Thrill seeker: Amusement park nearby?
- Foodie: Include restaurants you haven’t been able to get to yet
- Student for life: Tours and classes to help you learn something new
If you need more inspiration for what to add to your itinerary, check online. Many travel blogs have free itinerary recommendations by metro area. My favorites are from Frommers. They do an excellent job with itineraries based on the number of days that you’ll be in an area. The local travel section of your public library may also be full of great options.
*Money Tip: Look for free or cheap activities – As a family, create your own local tour. Plan a scavenger hunt. Spend a day at the park, the pool, etc. Be creative!*
Use Discounts for Activities
Local coupon books
Many towns have coupon books filled with discounts for local activities. This is my favorite way to save on nearby fun because you can get access to lots of local coupons for one price. My absolute favorite is the Entertainment book! They offer books for dozens of cities in the U.S., all full of local offers for fine dining, casual dining, fast food, activities and shopping – most at 50% off. I usually save enough after using just 1 or 2 coupons to cover the cost of the book. On their website, you can preview local deals by book to see if it would make sense for you. They’re often sold in local fundraisers or you can order directly on their website. I seriously love them so much that even when we travel out of town I’ll order a book for whatever metro we’ll be visiting.
Daily deal sites
If the deals in local coupon books aren’t enough, or if you don’t have one, now is a good time to troll the daily deal sites. They have options that’ll help you enjoy any kind of staycation – restaurants, experiences, spa treatments and more. And all at discounted prices. Just make sure to set aside time to use each deal that you purchase because not using it is just throwing money away.
Plan Where to Stay
Most often staycations happen in your own home, but you can also choose to go to a local hotel. My husband and I have done both. We usually choose a local hotel if they offer experiences that will let us “escape.” For example, we’ve done a few local culinary weekends that were AMAZING!
We’ve also stayed in our own house and planned local activities for the week. We’ve even moved into our guest room for a few days to make us feel like we “got away.” Even if it was only across the hall.
Prepare Your Home
If you stay at home, your home will be your hotel and you’ll want to prepare it before your staycation starts. Why? Because this will reduce your chances of being tempted to clean, organize or fix things while you’re supposed to be relaxing and decompressing. Unless those activities relax you…we all have our own happy.
If you don’t have time to prep the house, consider hiring a professional. It sounds crazy and counterintuitive to hire someone when you’re trying to save money by staying home, but a one-time house cleaning can cost around $150. Compared to a hotel night that can be $100 or more and a plane ticket that can cost almost $400 per person, you may still save substantially by doing this. If hiring a professional can help make your dream staycation a reality, then, by all means, splurge!
Then, all that’s left to do is have a blast and discover hidden treasures in your own backyard!