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Ways to Have Fun and Save Money With a Staycation

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5 Ways to Have Fun and Save Money With a Staycation

One day at the dinner table, I asked my kids what their favorite thing to do with their family was. My 4-year-old immediately replied, “Play together.” Her little brother had a similar reply. We want to provide our children with so many things and experiences - especially what we didn’t have when we were young. However, sometimes the simplest joys for our kids are being together with mom and dad. No matter what they say, deep down you’re a big deal to your kid.

If money is tight, perhaps you’re getting out of debt, or you’ve just been traveling a lot, then maybe a staycation is right for you. What is a staycation? According to the Urban Dictionary, a staycation is “a vacation that is spent at one's home enjoying all that home and one's home environs have to offer.” You take a break from life without leaving home.

So let’s take a look at a few ways to save money with a staycation while still making tons of memories together.

The typical four-day vacation, according to ValuePenguin, costs the average American family $581. For a fraction of the cost, you can take your family to see loads of stuff and make lots of memories right in your hometown. Try a couple of these ideas:

1. Discover the wonders of your city.

Is there a museum or gallery you’ve driven by for years that you could stop and tour during your staycation? Perhaps there is a favorite field trip you took as a child that you could recreate with your family. Even if you’re in a different location, try to find a similar place to explore.

2. Start a DIY project in your backyard.

My dad put up a simple rope swing in our front oak tree when I was still quite young. That one project became the source for dozens of childhood memories I’ll cherish forever.

Do you have room in your yard for a new swing? Perhaps you can go buy a tent and camp out for the night together or plant some flowers in your flower beds.

3. Take a Selfie Tour.

If your kids are at the age where snapping selfies is as normal as tying shoelaces, then they might enjoy a Selfie Tour. Drive around your city and take turns picking random places to pull over and take pictures together. Borrow a friend’s selfie stick if you don’t have one and get creative. Make sure each kid gets a turn to pick where to stop.

4. Get active together.

Got some bicycles? Take them for a spin down that nature trail you always meant to check out. Or throw on some tennis shoes, pack a picnic lunch, and go for a hike together. Think about it like this: If the whole family gets to vote on doing something active, then there’s bound to be something really fun in your hometown that’ll give you loads of exercise for not much money.

Other examples include:

  • Indoor trampoline parks

  • Roller skating/Ice skating rinks

  • Water park

  • Public pool

  • Family activity at the Y

5. Splurge like tourists.

You’re already saving hundreds on lodging by staying home for your vacation. Make sure you go out and have a little fun, too. Check out your city’s visitor page on its website for ideas. Try a nice restaurant you’ve never visited. Hire a sitter and take your significant other for a romantic stroll in a horse and carriage downtown. Attend an opera or ballet.

I know I told you to save money, but I also know how easy it is to put off adventures like this when they’re waiting right around the corner. With proper financial planning and lots of brainstorming together as a family, you can have the vacation of a lifetime right in your own backyard.

Got a staycation success story to share? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

--Laura Harris


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