Summer’s officially halfway over, which means that many if not all vacationers have either already gone on or will soon be taking their much-deserved vacation away before the start of the fall season.
Yet for those of us whose bank accounts had make it painfully clear since the beginning of the year that a nice big trip away from it all won’t in fact be possible this year, the likelihood of still experiencing a memorable vacay to escape the hustle, bustle, and day-to-day grind has probably already come and gone—at least until next summer when travel costs won’t be as much of an issue.
The truth of the matter is, for many Americans, a terrific traditional vacation just isn’t always financially feasible. Between restaurants, hotels, and transportation, travel costs can quickly add up, especially when multiplied for a family. Thankfully, there’s always the cool option of vacationing close to home — or taking a “staycation” — where you can relax, have an adventure, experience new things, and truly enjoy the rest of the summer all without ever stepping foot inside an airport. It’s the perfect solution to sooth that wanderlust on a budget. Here are some wallet friendly ways to making the most out of your next spectacular staycation.
Bring that va-cay into the home.
First and foremost, treat that staycation just like you would any ordinary out-of-town vacation. Google hard for activities and attractions and dutifully explore the area for fun low- or no-cost options to do with the entire family.
Be sure also to maintain your home or “stay” as any hotel would by keeping things neat, tidy, and perhaps suspending all normal housekeeping or household projects for the time being. Maybe even try decorating the space to resemble the place you most want to visit (think: faux palm trees for a Hawaiian vacation) or setting a theme for the entire duration to experience another culture. For instance, a potential visit to Thailand, could allow for spicy Thai dinners, a museum trip to view Thai art, and a romantic evening out complete with a soothing Thai massage.
Finally, as with any other big outing, always remember to document the happiness by making a scrapbook with tons of photos and good mementos of the family fun that’s to be had!
Enjoy a spa day.
There’s no need to head all the way over to Sweden to get a relaxing Swedish massage or to head off to a swanky luxury resort to experience a relaxing spa day. Why not go the DIY route by rounding up essentials like candles, oils, music, a robe, some slippers, and a nice old read for an at-home version of some R&R? For extra fun, try bubble baths, salt scrubs, and facial masks, or perhaps even go crazy by opting for an in-home private yoga session. Ommmm.
Get back in one with nature.
Getting outside has proven to decrease stress, boost happiness, and substantially increase creativity and kindness. Return to Mother Nature with a night out under the stars or by pitching a tent in your very own backyard complete with campfire ghost stories and uber amounts of ooey-gooey s’mores.
Don’t forget to download the Night Sky app (make sure your device is GPS-enabled first!) to identify stars, planets, and even satellites in the sky!
Eat well and differently.
Noms are an important part of any vacation—at home or otherwise— with the most important difference being that you yourself aren’t doing the cooking or the cleaning up. So unless that inner-chef is itching to work work work, it’s probably a good idea to direct all food-related worries elsewhere.
Why not test out meal delivery services like Plated or Blue Apron, take a tour of the local restaurant scene, or splurge just a bit by hiring a chef for an in-home cooking lesson? ChefXChange, for example, makes it super easy to search for professionals in several U.S. locales. There’s also the option of making dining a family friendly event by heading out to a theme restaurant, dinner theater, or even a murder-mystery dinner train or cruise.
Basically, any staycation is the perfect excuse to attend wine tastings at local breweries, try otherwise unheard of hole-in-wall spots, plan a pub crawl of local bars, or to take advantage of lots of happy hour specials. What’re you waiting for? Good clean eating awaits.
Take daytrips…Lots of em’.
A “staycation” doesn’t mean you’ve got to stay stuck at home. Scope out nearby towns and cities to discover what special events, festivals, or attractions are offered. Try visiting a local library to ask about free and discounted museum passes, possibly attending an upcoming concert, theater, or ballet performance, a minor-league sporting event, or even just taking the kids out to the zoo, the aquarium, a nearby amusement park or perhaps mini-golfing or bowling. Maybe also try finding local festivals for everything from film and comics to arts and crafts to head towards.
All too often, many of us forgo exploring our hometowns to explore destinations farther afield because “staying at home” doesn’t typically constitute a real vacation. It does though. So turn off that phone or tablet and let spontaneity dictate your days by making it a stay at home vacation to remember. Forever.