Summer is a great time to rest, recharge, spend more time in nature, and find an escape from the stresses of day-to-day life. And who couldn’t use a good getaway this summer? But thinking of a vacation can seem anything but “relaxing” if you’re on a tight budget. Before you kiss your “oh so well-deserved respite” goodbye, check out our third installment in our three-part series about budget-friendly ways to get your vacation mode on. Today we’re covering the most spend-savvy getaway of all – the “staycation!” Read on for our top suggestions for turning a week in your very own abode into the five-star vacation of your dreams.
How to have fun from home
Staycations have become quite popular as a great way to recharge on a budget. There’s no need to spend time and money on air travel, hotel costs and eating out. Plus, staying in your own home offers you some great opportunities. Not only do you have all the comforts of home (No, “Oh no, I forgot the sunscreen!” “Where’s the baby’s hat?” “I miss my special pillow!”); a staycation allows you to explore your own town (or even backyard), spend time on personal projects, enjoy friends and family and … there’s no unpacking when you’re ready to hop back into your routine workweek.
The trick to any successful staycation is to plan, plan, plan …. (But not too much! – leave some room for spontaneity and nap-time). Sit down and write out a list of places in your hometown you’d like to visit. Include some out-of-ordinary self-care you’ve been meaning to get to (yoga, anyone? Maybe a facial? How about a luxury bubble bath). You may also have some things that are quite “ordinary” but that you really enjoy and rarely get to do (think gardening, organizing your art supplies, taking a walk with your best fur friend, etc.). Having a menu of memorable and relaxing options will help you replace the urge to work or to fill your day with responsibilities with more vacation-appropriate activities.
We sat down and wrote down some of our own staycation ideas. Feel free to use some of our top bucket list ideas and adapt them for your own unforgettable staycation.
Play tourist in your own town
Now, this one does require leaving the house, but it doesn’t ask that you go too far. Play tourist in your own town by strolling through a new neighborhood or checking out a popular attraction near you. Simply taking in the sights or spending time seeing your hometown through your “vacation” eyes costs next to nothing. For some additional local tourist tips, this blog shares 10 ideas for exploring your own city.
Things you’ll need:
- A comfy pair of walking shoes
- Some at-home prepared snacks in case you get famished on your adventure
- Sun hat
- iPhone for tourist-y pics to show the neighbors
Host an open-air movie night
What’s more fun and affordable than an outdoor movie night? While we do love going to the theater, we know how costly that jumbo tub of popcorn, a soda and the must-have Junior Mints can be. So why compromise when you can still have fun during your getaway by creating a movie theater in your own backyard.
Things you’ll need:
- A projector (starting as low as $59.99 on Amazon.)
- Some low-cost snacks like popcorn, your favorite candy brand, and some soda
- A big sheet or screen for projecting your movie
- A movie of your choice via one of many affordable streaming service options (Netflix, IMDB, Hulu, etc.), or maybe you have an old favorite on DVD that would be a little extra special on your own homemade big screen.
- Don’t forget the lawn chairs and snuggly blankets
Plan an at-home spa day
We could all use a little pampering – and creating an at-home spa experience is easy and inexpensive. Consider a few simple steps: low lighting, a fluffy bathrobe, a lit candle, soothing music and a fabulous warm bath to soak any stress away. Unwind and treat yourself while saving money at the same time.
Things you’ll need:
- Facemask and body scrub
- Scented candles
- Bath bombs/bubble baths/Epsom salt
- Herbal tea or other relaxing beverages
- Soothing music
- Oh … and that fluffy (warm) robe (try putting it in the dryer with fabric softener before using)
Plan some alone time
If you’re like many people, you spend a lot of time taking care of others (kids, co-workers, spouses); but we know you also have those little projects that are just about “you” too. Maybe you’ve been itching to read that new book, finish organizing your photographs or just swinging on the front porch. You might even get satisfaction out of straightening and decluttering. Whatever it is, spending some time with what is important to you will help reset your internal compass to “true north” and make you feel like you’ve rewarded yourself. Plan some time to do “you” without any other demands on your time. Oh, and if it is in the cards,
“me time” goes great with a glass of wine or ice cream cone if that’s your fancy.
There you have it! Some perfect suggestions for turning time at your own home into that fancy vacation of your dreams. And, you will save a lot of money on top of that. By switching up your routine and finding ways to make enjoying your own space more special, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped without ever having to pack a suitcase.
Want more savings tips? Check out part one of our budget-friendly getaway series, all about cost-effective camping. Or, if bug spray and s’mores aren’t your thing, check out part two for how to save on your next local hotel stay. However you choose to get away, Moneytree has tips to help you get more from your money.