Summer is synonymous with a lot of things — sunshine and sunburns, pool days and picnics, lemonade stands and ice cream trucks. It’s also the season when schools let out, which can mean searching for things to do during summer vacation at home. But don’t get stuck in the same summer rut. Break out of your everyday routine without having to pack your bags or drain your bank account by planning a cheap summer staycation right at home!
What is a staycation?
A staycation is the union of a vacation and staying home, where an individual, couple, or entire family hangs out in their home city and finds activities or entertainment within close driving distance. In other words, you don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to find new things to do or see new places!
How to plan a staycation
Now that you know the what, it’s time to dive into the how. And how exactly do you plan the perfect staycation? It’ll take a bit of prep work to have the best staycation possible, but the following seven steps are sure to help you minimize your budget and maximize your fun.
1. Do your research
A good place to start in your planning is by doing a little research on what businesses are currently open where you live. Seasonality and other factors can affect when things are open. So before you load up the car, call around to make sure your destination is accepting visitors. If you can’t decide on a specific destination, do a quick internet search for “things to do near me” and let your local listing help you find your next staycation destination.
2. Decide what you want to get out of it
Once you know what’s available to you, determine what you’d like to gain from your time off. Perhaps you’re looking for a little relaxation time or you want a full itinerary of new activities. Why not combine both with an activity that’s both relaxing and engaging, such as checking out a museum or art installation you’ve been curious about but haven’t had enough time to visit.
3. Create a budget
While a staycation is likely less expensive than a traditional vacation, it’s still smart to outline how much you’re looking to spend. The good news is, summertime offers an abundance of free, family-friendly activities, like farmers’ markets, outdoor concerts, movie nights in the park, story hour at the library, and much more.
4. Utilize online resources
Another way to be mindful of your budget is to utilize online resources like Groupon or LivingSocial. These sites allow you to enjoy your city for less, with great discounts on restaurants, events, and experiences. Remember that you’re saving money by not purchasing airfare or hotel accommodations, so don’t be afraid to treat yourself a bit!
5. Turn off your devices
Your staycation is an opportunity to unwind, rest, and reset — but none of that will be possible if you don’t first unplug from your devices. This means silencing your cell phone, attaching an ‘out of office’ reply to your email, and avoiding the traps of social media. Use this staycation as a time to be fully present, savoring every moment with your partner, your children, or yourself.
6. Be a tourist in your own city
Why not use your staycation as an excuse to play tourist in your own city? Spend the day or the whole weekend checking out the hotspots in your area, from famous landmarks and historical sites to quaint side streets and locally-owned businesses. Explore all the places tourists frequent when they visit your area, and be sure to take plenty of photos to remember the day.
7. Try something new
Perhaps the most important part of your staycation is leaving space for new experiences. This could be something as simple as trying a new restaurant or tackling an unfamiliar hiking trail. You could also do a little digging into community education classes, which are an affordable way to learn cooking skills, practice a foreign language, or collect home improvement tips.
Or, have the whole family participate in a family paint night at Painting with a Twist! Whether you’re an experienced painter or just looking for a fun summer activity, the team at Painting with a Twist has you covered.
So, the next time you find yourself wondering how to enjoy your summer vacation at home, why not plan the ultimate staycation! A staycation definitely doesn’t mean you have to sit on your couch since there’s probably plenty of exciting, low-cost things to do in your own city. So do your research, set your budget, and reserve your seat for something new!