Can’t afford a vacation away from home?  Airlines are now charging for many items that previously were free, upping the charges for flights and the high cost of gas is making road travel an expensive proposition.  You can save tons of money and still have loads of fun if you opt for a staycation.  That’s when you stay home and pretend you are on vacation.

Staycation: Be a Tourist in your own Backyard

Imagine you are in a foreign city and drum up the same excitement as you would if you were seeing local things in a place you had to pay thousand of dollars to get to.  Think like a tourist.

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Lots of people don’t visit the attractions in their own town or city and surrounding area.  Check out the official website under parks and recreation to see what you’re missing.  Go to the visitor’s bureau and pick up some brochures and explore what your city has to offer.

Pick a start and end date for your staycation to make it official.  Plan out your time and activities as if you were on a real vacation.  You don’t have to be limited to the amusement park or zoo.  Have a movie night or play games in your backyard.  Pick a theme to inspire activities.  For some good ideas try and use your imagination to incorporate your family’s interests.

In addition to all of the kid friendly activities, make sure you plan some “adult” time as well – take a night at the theatre, go to a symphony or a rock concert or a nice dinner for two at an expensive restaurant.  You can enjoy your own hobbies uninterrupted if you enroll your children in a couple of day camps – they have fun with other kids while you have some quiet time.

Pack your schedule full of fun and fabulous things to do and encourage family interaction.  With all the money you’re not spending on travel, accommodations and boarding pets, you can have a ball.

Put away the Vacuum, you’re on Holidays!

Don’t forget downtime too, don’t use your downtime for chores.  Declare a moratorium on household chores.  No one has to make their bed, do dishes, or vacuum – or you can just do a minimum of tidying up.  Every meal eaten out can be expensive so you could make some meals ahead of time and have “take-out” from your freezer so you don’t spend vacation time cooking.

Consider hiring a cleaning service for the last day or so to whip the house back into shape.

Going on vacation does not mean going into debt.  For budget conscious families a staycation may be just the thing this summer.  With no airport hassles or traffic delays, no packing and no backseat “Are we there yet?” whining from the kids, you may end your vacation more relaxed and refreshed before going back to work.

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