Staycations have become all the rage lately as more and more American families are trying to find ways to save money. With the economy still slowly picking itself up from the 2008-09 Great Recession and unemployment rates still hovering at higher than historic rates, staycations continue to be the buzz word of the summer with families trying to pinch their pennies while still having a good time this summer.
Don’t let the name fool you. There are a lot of things that you can do on a staycation. It is not about sitting on the couch and eating potato chips all day. That’s no way to spend your vacation.
The First Thing To Do On A Staycation
After you have finally decided to take the plunge and go on a staycation, you need to get away from the office. You are on vacation, after all. You’re probably using your hard earned vacation days from work; you might as well get the most out of them.
Turn off your cell phone. Unplug your home phone if you have one. Let the answering machine pick up the calls. Make plans to step away from your laptop and make a pledge to not check your email while you are on staycation. While it may be impossible for some to leave email and their Facebook profiles alone for an extended period of time, consider only checking them twice a day, once in the morning and then again at night.
Staycation Ideas: 10 Cheap Things To Do While On A Staycation
A staycation can be a fun adventure in your own hometown. There are many things you can do that are often forgotten about when you’re busy with life. You can visit art museums, botanical gardens, children’s museums, zoos, and the like. Almost every part of our vast country has local attractions you can check out. You can often receive free guidebooks from state and local tourism boards with great staycation ideas by requesting the material on most of their websites.
See the sights. I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is rich in history with the first battle of the Civil War taking place in the harbor at Ft. Sumter and many other historic sites throughout the city. But my family and I took it for granted because we had lived there for so long. One summer, my mother finally decided that we were going to “play tourist” in our own hometown. It was one of the best summers I can remember. Are you taking your hometown for granted?
Swim at the beach or pool. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, over 39% of all Americans live in a country that is directly next to an ocean. Over 10% of Americans live in very close proximity to the Great Lakes. Swimming is one of the best and least expensive activities to do while on a staycation. If you do not leave near the ocean, you can always look for a community swimming pool to enjoy for the summer.
Write the great American novel. Have you been putting of writing a novel or a book? Is writing a book something that has been on your bucket list? It can be a perfect time to really take a stab at writing it during your staycation.
Take a bike ride or a hike. I am always amazed by how many hiking and biking trails there are around. There are a lot more than we realize. You can find some great trails for hiking and biking through your state and local park services.
Read a good book. When was the last time you actually visited a library? I took my six-year-old son to get his first library card the other day, and I remembered how awesome libraries are. There is so much to see and read. They offer great spaces to just sit, relax, and find something new and free to read that you might not otherwise had chosen from the bookstore.
Workout at the gym. Have you always wanted to try CrossFit but never had the time? Have you been putting off going back to the gym to workout? Your staycation might be the perfect time to try a new gym, get back into lifting weights, or simply try a yoga or Pilates class.
Watch a baseball game. There are many minor league baseball teams all across the country. And even if your town doesn’t have one that is affiliated with an MLB franchise, there is often an independent league team in many small towns with guys who are still dreaming of earning a shot at a major league baseball team. A day at the ballpark can be a great and cheap family event.
Spend time with your children. This might seem like a no brainer, but it is worth mentioning again. Your staycation is the perfect time to reconnect with your children whether they are grown and out of the house or school-aged. The summer is the perfect time to make memories together.
Go see a movie or play. Many small communities still have a theater, playhouse, or an opera house that you can see local productions of plays and musicals. Seeing a locally-produced play can be a thrilling experience. While you can always go see a movie in the theater or rent a movie from Netflix, there is nothing quite like a live performance.
Have a cookout. Having a barbecue or a cookout is another fun gathering that you may want to consider while on your staycation. Nothing screams summertime like a cookout.
For more staycation ideas be sure to check out 33 Free Things to Do in the Summer.
How Much Money Can You Save With A Staycation?
So, how much money can you expect to save while on a staycation? Of course that all depends on how expensive your normal vacations are typically. You could spend thousands of dollars on a Caribbean vacation for a family of four but, of course, you will spend much less than that with a staycation.
According to USA Today and AAA, a single, round-trip airline ticket from a major west coast airport to Hawaii can typically cost between $500 and $700 per person. That could set a family of four back almost $2,800 just to travel in coach.
Lonely Planet, the popular travel guide, estimates that the average cost of a standard hotel room in the Caribbean can run you hundreds of dollars per night depending on your standards. Additionally, rental cars can cost anywhere between $40 to $80 per day. A 5-night stay with hotel and rental car could wind up costing you almost $1,000.
These are just a few examples, albiet a little on the extreme side, of how much you can save with a staycation. While a staycation does not necessary mean a free vacation, it is comparatively a lesser expense for enjoying your time off this summer.
Have you ever taken a staycation? Are you thinking about a staycation this year? What are you planning to do with your time?
Image by jakemohan