Make Your Staycation Feel Like a Vacation
Get into a staycation mindset
Slashing your annual vacation travel budget is an easy way to save money, and families can choose a much less expensive "staycation" to achieve that goal. But staying at home or close to home can look, sound, taste and feel like a vacation.
"Vacation sounds a little more exotic, but with a staycation, it's all about that creativity. You can take something ordinary and make it extraordinary," says Paul Tocknell, who founded the Staycation Ideas website with his wife, Holly. "It's not necessarily about the destination; it's about the journey."
Tocknell's secret is to think like a tourist. Look at your own area as an outsider might, and staycation destination ideas will present themselves.
Here are five tips for making a staycation feel like a vacation.
Schedule at least a few specific activities in advance, or you might find yourself at the end of a "nothing special" week off and wonder where the time went. A themed staycation might be the way to go.
From beach living to space adventure, almost any idea can inspire activities, meals and day trips. Michelle Baker and her husband, of State College, Pa., did just that last year for their one-year anniversary, when a recent house purchase made heading to Key West, Fla., for the fourth straight year impossible. Instead, they were able to save money by staying at home and eating Cuban food, making tropical drinks and conch fritters, lounging by the pool, and hitting up some downtown bars for live music.
"We enjoyed each other's company, took a complete break from real life and celebrated Key West here at home," Baker says.
Explore the unknown
Your local convention and visitor's bureau is a good source for new-to-you places, upcoming festivals and performances for a staycation.
"Exploring what's happening one county over can open up a world of new experiences," says Donna Bailey-Taylor, executive director of the Smithfield/Johnston County Visitors Bureau in Smithfield, N.C. Local online forums can be other sources.
Seek new ways to explore your city or a nearby one and save money, whether it's walking, biking or even renting a personal transporter -- many major cities offer Segway tours. Even taking public transportation, whether it's a train, subway or trolley, instead of your car to get to a destination can make things interesting.
Sites such as Zozi.com, which offers activities for exploring 62 cities in new ways, can provide specific ideas or inspiration. For example, there's a day in San Francisco for "diving for abalone and learning to cook your catch," the "Oregon Brewery Trail Bike Tour" in Portland, or the "urban hike photography lesson" in Washington, D.C.
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