If you are trying to save money, a vacation is rarely the first thing that comes to mind. However, what’s the point of living if you can’t actually live a little?

The good news is that enjoying life doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get away even in your own backyard when you decide to have fun with a staycation.

What is a Staycation?

Instead of heading to an exotic locale, the point of the staycation is for you to stick close to home. You engage in some actions that you would enjoy if you were on vacation, but you stay within a couple hours’ drive of your hometown.

A staycation is generally less expensive, since you don’t spend money on the travel costs associated with a distant location (especially if you have to fly to get there.) Additionally, since you stay close to home, you don’t have to worry about other costs, including buying souvenirs, paying for prepared meals in restaurants, and worrying about currency exchange costs.

With the right staycation, you can create great memories for your family without breaking the bank. Here’s a video I created that helps explain staycations.

A Tourist in Your Own Town

You might be surprised to discover the “tourist attractions” in your own town. It’s common to overlook some of the historical sites, museums, and activities that are in your area because you take them for granted.

A staycation is a great way to get to know your city. Check with your town’s visitor’s bureau to find out what there is to do locally. From visiting a special exhibit at the museum to picnicking at a park you had no idea existed to touring a local landmark, you can get a better feel for your town. It’s a great opportunity to do something a little out of the ordinary, often without spending more than a few bucks.

What’s in the Next Town Over?

Another fun staycation idea is to drive to the next town over. Consider staying in an inexpensive hotel with a pool for a night. Just the fun of driving an hour or two to another town, and then playing in the hotel pool, can be a lot of fun. Bring along sandwich fixings in a cooler, or bring hot-dogs to cook up on the grill found at most hotels.

The next day, pick a fun local activity to participate in after you check out of the hotel, and before you head home. If you plan it carefully, and stay at a cheap hotel, you can usually get away with spending less than $300 total for the entire family outing. It gets you out of the house, encourages a bit of family fun, and gives you the chance to really “get away” from your typical life. That’s not bad at all!

Taking a Vacation in Your Own Home

You can even plan a staycation for your own home. If you really want to save money, don’t bother with leaving the house. You can take a little “time out” from life as a staycation.

In order to make this work, though, you have to be prepared to step outside your life. Some ideas for taking a staycation at home include:

  • Backyard camping: Pitch a tent in the backyard. Cook on the grill, or have sandwiches. Make it a point to lay outside on the grass for part of the time, finding constellations.
  • Movie marathon: Find movies that the whole family enjoys and then have a movie marathon for a day. Set up a blanket on the floor of your family room so that you can eat while you watch the movies.
  • Blanket fort: Build a blanket fort in one of the rooms of your house. Have a simple dinner in the fort, and even spend the night in the fort.
  • Family game day: Spend the whole day playing different games. Each family member can choose a favorite game, and you spend all day playing. Enjoy snacks and meals while you do so. It’s a fun way to make memories, and you don’t even have to leave the house.
  • Spa day: You can even have a spa day, if your family situation allows it. Spend the day pampering yourself at home. Use homemade beauty treatments, and consider giving yourself a manicure and a pedicure. It’s relaxing and inexpensive.

No matter what you decide, it’s possible to save money on your vacation and have a great time. Plan a staycation and revel in the savings… and the good memories.

About the Author:  Tom Drake is a long-time Million Dollar Journey reader and the founder of Maplemoney.com. For the latest investing advice and money saving tips, join his free newsletter.

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