Summer is peak season for most travel, and peak season means peak prices. Toenjoy a wonderful summer vacation without the big expense of travel, follow these tips for an enjoyable staycation.
Why Skip the Travel?
Many of us tend to discount the attractions in our own back yards. It's easy to feel blasé about what's nearby when there's a big, beautiful world out there just waiting to be seen -- places that we can't just hop in the car and drive to anytime.
That's a valid point -- but not for every single vacation. With all the other financial needs we have, from saving for retirement to managing our debt, it's better not to bust the budget every time we have a week off by flying across country or going overseas. But that certainly doesn't mean you can't have an awesome week of fun.
Among the many benefits of staycations:
- No stressing over complicated plans in an unfamiliar setting.
- No layovers, no flight delays and no long plane rides with screaming kids.
- More time to enjoy your plans because you will spend less time traveling.
- Hundreds, if not thousands of dollars saved.
Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
Taking a staycation doesn't mean you bum around the house all day -- although you're welcome to if you want. The point is to be a tourist in your own town. Try these ideas:
- Get out of your house. Make the staycation feel special by staying in a hotel downtown or in the next city over. Staying in a hotel gets you out of your normal routine and makes your staycation feel much more exciting.
- Take advantage of not having to travel. You don't have luggage limits and you don't have to worry about renting a car. Do what you want, wear what you want and go where you want. You won't have a tight itinerary, and you won't be limited by what you did or didn't bring with you. Anyone else ever try to pack like a minimalist and feel too backpacker-ish to go eat in that posh restaurant once you got to your destination?
- Enjoy the wiggle room in your budget. The purpose of a staycation is to save on expenses, of course, but by cutting costly parts of typical travel -- airfare and car rental -- you won't have to scrimp quite so hard everywhere else.
- Disconnect. Just because you're in your own city doesn't mean you should be plugged in as you normally would. Turn off the phone while you're enjoying your activities, shut down the computer and don't even think about touching the TV.
- Go outside the normal comfort zone. You can keep your staycation from feeling like just another day by planning unfamiliar activities, things to do and places to see. Don't go to your usual haunts. Check outTripAdvisor, Urban Spoon or Yelp for ideas.
- Treat yourself. Go out for drinks or stop by a new restaurant just to have dessert. Or plan a spa visit and treat yourself after a long day of exploring the city on foot.
- Explore the things you haven't done in years -- or maybe never even got to. Hit up museums, monuments or historical places and sites.
- Check out attractions in nearby towns. Sometimes an hour drive and a day of exploring can make you feel like you're on vacation.