As summer comes around each year, you might start feeling the familiar urge to take a vacation.
Vacations are good for the mind and spirit, but they aren’t always good for your wallet. The costs of airplane tickets, car rentals, gas, hotel rooms, food, eating out, and souvenirs all add up really fast. If you aren’t careful, a vacation can end up being a huge investment just for some quality rest and relaxation.
For a vacation to be most effective, you need it to be as stress-free as possible. Taking a vacation that you can’t actually afford or that will push you further into debt will disrupt your financial stability and leave you feeling more stressed than before.
To reap the many benefits of a vacation without the huge price tag, consider taking a staycation.
What is a Staycation?
A staycation is a vacation where you don’t go anywhere. Instead of going away for vacation, you stay where you are! Hence the name, “stay”cation.
Vacations can be hard to fit into our busy lives. It’s difficult to take enough time out to go through the entire process of packing and traveling somewhere in order to relax and have fun. Not to mention that traveling for vacation can often make your vacation feel a little more chaotic than you want and be more expensive.
That’s why opting for a staycation can be the solution to all your problems. On a staycation, you don’t have to pack, travel, or spend any money! Or at least not nearly as much money you spend traveling and on souvenirs and food when you go away for vacation.
Your backyard is someone else’s dream vacation! Stay where you are, but instead of going on with your normal routine, act as if you are on vacation.
A staycation requires looking at your local community with a new set of eyes. This is great when looking for staycation ideas. What are the activities and events that you’ve never really considered trying out? When people visit from out of town, where do they go?
Many of us live in a paradise without realizing it. For example, if you live near the Rocky Mountains, then you’re just a few miles away from a breathtaking wilderness unlike any other in the world.
But you don’t have to live near any vacation hotspots to have a good staycation. Here are some ideas to consider, no matter where you live:
1. Book a Nearby Hotel or Airbnb
Sometimes you just really need to get out of the house for a while. It might be worth it to book a few nights at a local hotel just so you can have the complete vacation experience.
By booking a nearby hotel you can cut on travel costs but still enjoy the luxury amenities that hotels provide, like room service, breakfast, and great nearby hangouts within walking distance.
Pull up Airbnb and start browsing the local rentals available. You might be surprised by the great Airbnb locations you have close by!
2. Swap Houses with a Friend
Another cheap way to get the relocation experience without going very far or spending too much money is to just swap houses with a friend! Find someone else who could use a change and switch houses with them for a few days.
You might even find a friend with a house that’s better than yours or with new features your own house doesn’t have. For instance, maybe you have a pool but your friend has a decked out theater room that’s great for watching movies. You’ll be surprised by how much a simple change will make you feel like you went away on vacation and give you that same, refreshing, “ready-to-be-home-again” feeling you get from going away for a while.
3. Swap Bedrooms
Even in your own house, you can make refreshing changes to help rejuvenate your mood. Bedroom swaps can even be permanent if you want since the change is in your own house.
The key to a great staycation is to change up your routine. Swapping bedrooms is a great way to change routines, while also refreshing an old space to feel like new.
4. Rearrange the Furniture
If you aren’t too set on your current arrangements, you could rearrange the things in your house to refresh the space. There’s a possibility your house could use a fresh makeover anyway.
The difference here is that you’re actually taking time off from work and other obligations to focus on re-envisioning your space. Take a few days off and allow yourself to simply focus on this one thing. Once your done, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a whole new house just from decorating and rearranging.
5. Visit Local Museums
No doubt, there’s a local museum you’ve never been to. Change that during your staycation! Look up what local museums are in your own city and go visit them. You might learn something new or gain a new favorite pastime.
By learning all about everything in the museum you can become your own museum guide. Then you can take all your friends to the museum and be an expert at showing them around. Before this though, it’d be a fun idea to actually go through the museum with an actual tour group. That way you’ll get the full tourist experience and not miss any of the fascinating details.
6. Local Visitor’s Centers
Call your town’s local visitor’s center and ask for ideas! Many places have one and the people working there will know all about where to go and what to do right near you. Some visitor centers you can also visit to pick up brochures and maps of your local area.
7. Try a New Restaurant
Eat at a restaurant you’ve never been to before. In our own hometown’s we can easily get into ruts. It can be hard to break your routine when you know what you like. But the vacation experience is all about new and unfamiliar experiences. Take a leap and change things up by choosing a restaurant you’ve never been to before for dinner.
8. See a Play
Go see a play near you. You don’t have to go to Broadway or a major city to catch a live production. There could be theater performances happening nearby! Traveling Broadway productions also pass through many towns. There might be a major high school or university production going on soon that you could go to while supporting your local schools.
9. Spend a Day Downtown
If you’re bored with your own downtown, then visit the downtown of a nearby town instead. Spend the day walking around, enjoying the city, shopping, and eating at new places.
10. Visit a Nearby Campus
If you have a university nearby then you’ll have a wealth of things to do. You can take a tour of your local university to learn more about it. You can also go to events and shows on campus. They might have some free courses for the community as well. Find the event calendar on the university’s website and take advantage of events, lectures, concerts, shows, and more.
11. Backyard Staycation
Instead of going through the hassle of going somewhere far away for vacation, just go to your own backyard.
A backyard staycation is when you transform your own backyard into a relaxing oasis or a fun party-zone. There are tons of things you can do to make your backyard staycation-worthy. You could install some new amenities like a hot tub or a pool. You can even get a temporary pool that’s less expensive just for this occasion.
Invest in some nice lawn furniture to lounge in and put up some great outdoor lighting. Make a fire pit and roast marshmallows. Cook some barbecue on the grill. Set up a tent and go camping right outside your back door. Create a dance floor and have your own dance party. Set up a movie projector and have an outdoor movie night. Go stargazing.
The possibilities for what you can set up in your own backyard are endless.
12. The Kitchen Summer Staycation
Summer Staycation is a TV show from Food Network. They go over different dishes and recipes from all around the world that you can make from home. With all their great recipe videos, you can make foods that make you feel like you’re traveling the world.
13. Beauty Staycation
For some heavy-duty relaxation time plan lots of spa things to do. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on treatments at an actual spa. Instead, get your own spa stuff and start relaxing and pampering yourself from home. You can find all kinds of fun home, DIY spa ideas online or on Pinterest! Here are just a few example spa ideas to get you started:
- Face masks
- Massage rollers
- Manicure and pedicures
- Do a full body face mask in the shower
- Use bath salts and oils for an extra relaxing bath
- Do a hair mask
14. Search Events Near Me
Google the phrase “events near me” and see what Google can find for you. Many local events will be listed in Google’s search engine and easy to find. You can also browse the website for your city or town and see what’s listed under “events.” You can also search for events near you on Facebook. Just log into Facebook and in the side menu where it has your name, the “Saved” tab, the “Groups” tab, and many more, you’ll find an “Events” tab listed.
15. Visit Local Parks
Almost every city has at least one park. Go visit the parks near you and see which one you like the best. You might find a new great place to play sports, take your dog on walks, go on runs, or have picnics.
16. Go Do Local Hikes and Nature Trails
By downloading the All Trails app or visiting their website, you can find hikes and trails near you. The All Trails app will even help guide you with a GPS map so you don’t get lost on the trail.
Make a goal and hit every trail near you to find which ones you love and see sights you’ve never seen before.
17. Weekend Getaways
Just do a short weekend getaway instead of going very far away for very long. Sometimes the solution isn’t to not go anywhere at all, but to just not go too far and not for too long. Shorter trips can be just as fun and rejuvenating as long ones. You can even plan a weekend getaway nearby!
18. Go to a Sports Event
Even if you aren’t really into sports, going to a sport’s event can be a fun and exciting way to get out of your comfort zone and do something new. There might even be local teams you didn’t know about that you could start rooting for.
The great thing about sporting events is that you can go with friends, walk around, and grab delicious foods from all the different vendors. Many sporting events also get broadcasted somehow. So you don’t necessarily have to leave your house to create your own at-home sporting event. Just set up a TV or projector for viewing and make all your favorite sporting event snacks and dishes yourself.
19. Build a Fort
Home forts can go anywhere. You can set a fort up in the playroom or the kids’ bedroom. You can also make a fort in the living room, or even outside. Once your master fort is complete, you can enjoy a sleepover movie night inside.
20. TV or Movie Marathon
Movie marathons are an event all by themselves. Make some yummy homemade snacks like caramel popcorn, Chex mix, cookies, and brownies. What’s great about having a viewing party at home is that you can pick whatever you want to watch!
21. Game Night
Have a game night, complete with prizes for winning rounds and unique games and challenges. You can even invite friends to participate in game night via Skype and Facetime. There are even games you can play together online. You just have to find one you can all enjoy and set up your game party.
22. Local Tours
Go on a tour in your own hometown. Just search for local tours near you and see what you can find. You might have to pay for admission, but it’s worth it. Tours often come with a wealth of new knowledge about your own town.
23. Day Trip
Take a day trip somewhere nearby. You can still consider it a staycation if you’re only gone for one day. figure out how far you’re willing to drive in one day, and search for fun places to go near you. This is a great idea for taking a day trip to a nearby city. Maybe you live close to a major metropolitan area! Don’t overcomplicate your vacation, just go enjoy the city in one day of fun.
Camping is a great staycation idea. You can even go camping in your own backyard or even your living room! But odds are there are camping grounds nearby that you can go to. pretend you’re from out of town and go camping at a campsite nearby. Make dinner over the fire, tell stories, and gaze up at the stars all within a 100-mile radius of your own home.
25. Take a Class
Taking a class might not seem like a vacation-worthy activity, but extracurricular classes are very different from the classes you took in school. Take a course at your local college, community center, or library. You might even find some cheap, discounted, or free classes for members of the community. Choose something new, interesting, and fun like an art class or a cooking class.
I know what you’re thinking. Volunteering doesn’t seem very relaxing. Vacation is supposed to be for fun and for some much needed you-time. But volunteering can be fun and doing service for others can give you the same mood boost that a vacation can. Forget yourself for a while and feel good about yourself through doing some local volunteering. This is also a great way to make new friends and meet some new great people.
27. Local Marketplace
Instead of going to the big chain grocery stores you usually go to, explore the local markets. Find out where the farmer’s market near you is located and go see what they have to offer. The groceries and produce you get there will be fresher, healthier, and grown nearby rather than being shipped from far away and then overcharged because of it. Not only can you save money on groceries and organic foods, but you’ll be supporting your local businesses and farmers.
Many local marketplaces also have other local vendors selling all kinds of neat things. Explore what the vendors in your local area have to offer by visiting and supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs in your town.
28. Backyard Waterpark
Set up a makeshift pool or water play yard in the backyard. You can buy yourselves a blow up pool or water slide. Or you can put down tarps and play with the hose. Fill up a giant bin with water balloons and have an all out water war!
If you don’t have your own fire pit then you could take this opportunity to make one. Or you could spend a day or an evening at your local camping grounds to have a bonfire night. Prepare some yummy tin foil dinners that you can roast over the fire. There are also lots of desserts you can make with a fire that will be extra fun to create outside together. Bonfires also create a great mood for hanging out with loved ones, singing songs, telling stories, and playing campfire games.
30. Cookouts and Barbecues
Nothing is more relaxing and rejuvenating than wonderful food. Take your staycation meals to the next level by having a cookout or a barbecue. You can make kabobs, grill foods, or roast food over the fire. There are so many delicious cookout recipes out there to choose from.
31. Bird Watching
Buy yourself some bird watching binoculars and a guide to bird watching and local bird species. Now go outside and start finding all the different types of birds found in your own local area.
32. Plant Scavenger Hunt
Pick up a guide to all the different kinds of plants that grow near you. Then go outside in your outdoor gear and start finding all the plants you can. When you find each different kind of plant snap a picture as proof that you found it. Make it a game with others and see who can find more plants.
33. Hire a Personal Chef
Who says you have to go to fancy restaurants to have fancy food? By hiring a personal chef for dinner, you can get gourmet food created just for you. The best part about hiring your own chef is that you can enjoy a 5-star meal without ever leaving your house.
34. Go on a Picnic
Pack a picnic basket and go outside to eat today. You can eat in your own backyard or you can travel a little to your favorite outdoor spot. Creating your own custom picnic basket can also be a fun way to pass the time during your staycation.
35. Eat Breakfast in Bed
One of the most luxurious feelings in the world is eating breakfast in bed. If you live alone then you might have to still prepare your own breakfast, but you can still get right back into bed to enjoy it. If you live with others than you can take turns making breakfast for each other each morning of your staycation.
36. Rent a Cool Car for the Day
A fun part of traveling for some people is getting to rent a car. Renting a car can be expensive, but if you’re only renting the vehicle for one day, then you save a lot of money. Because you’re only renting it out for one day, it’ll also be easier and more affordable to rent out a really cool car!
37. Hire a Masseuse or a Masseur
A masseuse is a woman who practices massage and a masseur is a man who practices massage. Many people who do not know this difference will often simply use the term masseuse for any person who practices massage. It comes from the French word “masser,” which means, “to massage.”
A masseuse or a masseur has studied the body and the art of massage. They have learned many technics on how to use massage to ease tension and bodily pains. Hiring a masseuse or a masseur can be a great way to get all the built up tension out of your body without having to go to an expensive resort.
38. Bike Rides
Bike rides can be strenuous or leisurely depending on what biking trail you choose and your bike ride preferences. You also want to consider safety, your level of biking skills, and the type of bike you have when deciding on a type of bike ride excursion.
Pick your bike carefully so you have the right setup for the trail you want to bike on. You could bike on a nature trail or on the road, it’s up to you! You can go for a real workout by biking several miles or biking some rougher terrain. Or you can relax a little and go for a slow and calm bike ride and maybe stop at some point for a picnic.
39. Find a Great Staycation Read
Reading can take you anywhere. Getaway during this staycation by picking up a good book. Books are also a lot cheaper than an entire vacation, but you can go just as far away. There is a genre out there for everyone. If you don’t already know what kind of books you like that’s ok! Visit your local library and test out a popular book from each genre. Don’t worry about finishing each one. Just focus on finding the types of stories that draw you in.
40. Go Berry Picking
Find local farms near you and see what kind of picking is available. In the summer, berry picking is the most common. Berry picking is fun because it gets you outside and allows you to pick your own fresh berries off the vine without having to maintain your own garden.
41. Plan a Fun Summer Challenge
Make your summer staycation last the whole summer long with a fun challenge! You can challenge yourself however you want. You could decide to make something completely new for dinner every Sunday. You could challenge yourself to hike every trail in your area. You could make a challenge to bike to an awesome nearby site or attraction. Or you could challenge yourself to do one new, fun family activity each Friday night. It’s up to you!
If you’re in Arizona then you’re going to need some staycation ideas specific to your area. Lucky for you, Arizona has some fantastic staycation options. You could spend your Arizona staycation in a rental Yurt! You could also spend a staycation nearby in any one of the many Arizona resorts.
Arizona has resort options that are perfect for kids, families, and couples. They also have some of the best golf resorts for the avid golfer.
Arizona is also a state full of natural wonders and sites to see. There is the Fossil Creek Wilderness, the Water Wheel Falls, and the Tonto Natural Bridge just to name of few of Arizona’s natural wonders.
Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona. If you live in Phoenix Arizona, don’t bother going far away on vacation. Phoenix already has everything you need for a perfect vacation.
The city of Phoenix has a number of beautiful resorts and hotels for you to choose from. There are also countless tours and excursions to sign up for like the Desert Wolf Tour and the Rainbow Ryders hot air balloon rides.
You can also be your own guide at any of the many hikes near Phoenix, like the Echo Canyon Trail, the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail, Cholla Trail, or Camelback Mountain.
Like we’ve said before, your own city could be another person’s dream vacation. If you live and work in New York City than it might not seem so wondrous to you anymore. Gain that wonder back by seeing the sites of New York you’ve never taken the time to see before.
You could visit New York’s Botanical Garden, sail on the Hudson River, visit any of the iconic NYC restaurants, take a helicopter tour of the city, plan a day trip on Long Island, visit any of the museums or art galleries, catch a show, hike Forest Park, or walk Central Park.
Beach vacationers who live in Florida have it made in the shade. Instead of going out of state for some beach fun, just visit any number of the many Florida beaches already near you. You could go to Key West, Amelia Island, Key Largo, Marco Island, explore the city of Tampa or St Petersburg, or visit the manatees in Homosassa.
Dallas is a city exploding with tourist attractions. Dallas has the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, the Dallas World Aquarium, White Rock Lake, Six Flags, Reunion Tower, the Dallas Zoo, and many beautiful parks and trails. Spending your staycation in Dallas is sure to not be boring.
Staycation Los Angeles
The biggest attraction in Los Angeles would probably be Disneyland. But there is a lot more to do in Los Angeles as well. There are museums like the Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park, Echo Park, Runyon Canyon Park, Universal Studios Hollywood, the California Science Center, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Staycation Near Me
Finding a staycation near you might not be so easy though if you don’t live in or near a major city with lots of tourist attractions to choose from. But finding what is available near you isn’t hard at all. To find fun staycation ideas near you just follow these steps:
Step 1: open up Facebook. In the menu select “Events” and browse the Facebook events near you.
Step 2: google “events near me” and browse the list of events Google has.
Step 3: google the phrase “attractions near me,” “sites near me,” or “things to do near me” and you’ll find trails, museums, parks, and all kinds of nearby activities near you.
Step 4: Plan a day or weekend trip to your nearest major city.
Plan a Successful Staycation
In order to truly get the most out of your staycation, you’ll want to keep a few important tips in mind.
First think about what your goals are for this staycation. What are the most important things you want to get out of your staycation? It might be saving money, relaxing, having fun, bonding with loved ones, getting a break from work, or a mix of these goals.
It’s important to have some solid staycation goals because if your primary goal is to relax, then planning one activity after another won’t work for you. Instead, you’ll want to plan more downtime for reading, napping, lounging, and sunbathing.
The next important step in planning a staycation is to make sure you put work away completely. This is especially important for staycations because you don’t have the added distance from work and home to keep you from doing business. Set up automatic messages to respond to anyone who might try and contact you while you’re away and then set everything on the do not disturb setting. Explain on your message that you are away on vacation, when you’ll be available again, and where or how to contact you in case of an emergency that cannot wait.
While the whole point of a staycation is to “stay put,” feel free to expand your horizons to include anywhere that you can drive to in just a few short hours. The cost of gas and time it takes you to drive an hour away to see a beautiful site or do something really fun will still be a lot less than if you were to go out of state for the same thing.
When you’re planning your staycation itinerary, don’t forget to leave plenty of room for spontaneous activities and down time. Don’t pack so much into your day that you don’t have time to enjoy the unexpected or time to shut off your brain and do nothing for a while.
Planning a staycation is simple and easy. With a Check City Prepaid Debit Card you can make staycation planning even easier by giving yourself a vacation allowance on your prepaid debit card. That way you’ll be sure to not overspend as you enjoy the local sites and attractions your own city has to offer.
written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter