Too Broke For a Vacation? Take a Stay-cation
Your budget is stretched, you’re feeling stressed, your to-do list is longer than your arm, AND your boss is driving you crazy. You really NEED a vacation.
Funny thing is, vacations can add to your stress.
There’s planning, packing, getting to the airport and dealing with security, or endless driving and potential road-rage; and you haven’t even arrived at your destination yet. Add that to the fact that this misery is going to cost you… BIG! The most expensive parts of your vacation are travel expenses and accommodations.
Since you’ve already paid money to live in your house or apartment then the smartest thing you can do is to stay put, avoid the stress and take a Stay-cation!
Of course you are likely to ask yourself, “if I just stay put then how is it really a vacation?” Well, why don’t you think about what a real vacation is. A vacation is about having fun, eating too much, drinking too much, and not dealing with your actual everyday life.
How can you do this while staying at home? Easy! We’ve broken it down into 3 budget categories. You can choose the one you like or mix and match. It’s all up to you since it is your stay-cation.
Don’t forget the ground rules.
1. No chores.
2. Do not check your work email.
3. Do not open your mail.
4. Screen all of your calls so that you only answer the important ones, like party invitations.
These 4 things will take a bit of willpower but are vital to the success of your stay-cation. Once you get past the first day they will get easier to do.
Now some of these things may seem a little decadent but you are on vacation and are planning on spending a little bit of money so think of all of the money you saved on hotels and flights to exotic locales and indulge a little in other areas.
- Hire a maid for the week. There can be great joy in coming back to a clean home after a long day of rabble-rousing. No toys to pick up, no dishes to wash, no beds to make… It sounds like bliss to me.
- Eat out every meal. If you were staying at a hotel you would need to eat out at every meal so treat yourself to the same self-indulgence and try out some of the local restaurants that you’ve never been to before.
- Get a babysitter and go out like adults do. At least if you are staying at home you have a baby sitter you can trust close by so you don’t have to worry about a stranger looking after your little ones.
- Take a cab. If you are going out to have a few drinks with your partner, you don’t want to worry about a designated driver. Enjoy yourself without worrying about how you are going to get home.
- Explore some of your local attractions. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce or use the Internet to find some of the local treasures you may not have discovered yet. Try typing “Things to do” plus the city or town in your browser and you should find lots of great ideas to get you started.
We haven’t cut the expenses down to zero on this one but sometimes it is worth spending a few bucks to have a good time.
- Hire a maid on the first day of your vacation. She/he may not be able to look after the day-to-day untidiness but it will be nice to start your vacation with a clean bathroom and kitchen.
- Eat out one meal a day and make it lunch. Most places have great lunch specials that cost about half of what you would pay for the same meal in the evening. And eating out makes less housework and is fun for a change.
- Get a babysitter for at least one night or afternoon. It is a good idea to have adult fun once in awhile. Check out the local café that hosts poetry readings or open-mic night.
- Take a bus. You can still go out and enjoy a few drinks with your partner but go early so you can catch happy-hour and then take the bus home.
- Check out the local attractions. Most museums and art galleries are pretty low cost and full of things to pique your interest.
It’s important to get out and enjoy life even if your entertainment budget is zero.
- Pack a picnic. If you can’t afford to go out to a restaurant you can still go out. Get your picnic lunch organized and head to the nearest park or beach. Both locations are either free or low-cost and you can make the day of it.
- Trade baby-sitting services with one of your neighbors. Offer your friends free baby-sitting in the future in exchange for them baby-sitting your little ones now.
- Take a romantic walk in the park/ beach, go hiking on a trail, stargazing, ice skating, sledding, make a snowman… you get the idea. Just go somewhere and leave the kids at home.
- Explore the no-cost local attractions and monuments. Most museums and art galleries have some days marked for free admission and your library is chalk full of free books, magazines and movies for you to borrow. Libraries also often have story time, special activities, crafts for kids, and even concerts by local musicians.
Finally, if you want to do something completely different (and the weather is nice), take your vacation budget and blow it on a backyard stay-cation:
Even if you are stuck at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t plan a fun and exciting stay-cation. All you need to do is set your budget, think creatively, do some homework and plan your Best. Stay-cation. Ever. Oh, and don’t forget to take some great stay-cation photos!
More ideas to make your stay-cation interesting and enjoyable:
- Fly a kite
- Play croquet
- Go fishing, swimming, biking
- Bird watching
- Bake cookies together
- Do crafts – paint, sculpt, knit, wood-work
- Spend a day taking photos
- Window Shop
- Camp out in your backyard
- Go to an open-air concert, parade, farmer’s market
- Visit a cemetery – cemeteries are full of history
- Take a farm tour, winery tour, chocolate factory tour
- Organize a scavenger hunt
- Have a potluck
- Invite friends over for coffee
- Have a Family Game Night or Marathon
- Volunteer – it sets a good example for your kids and helping others makes you feel good.