Stay-cations: Learning To Love The Best Of Where You Live On A Budget


Stay-cations: Learning To Love The Best Of Where You Live On A Budget

There’s no denying it.  Most of us have found ourselves virtually housebound when in actuality we would love to go out there and see the world.  The reality of the situation is that times are tough and it’s becoming difficult to purchase the necessities, much less think about what some would characterize as “indulgences” like travel.  Well, before you throw in the towel, consider alternative ways of traveling without leaving the city limits.  “Stay-cations” is more than a buzz word these days, it’s an answer to a prayer for many families who are trying to navigate through this stagnant economy.

What is a Stay-cation?

Stay-cation is a combination of the words ‘stay’ and ‘vacation’ which essentially means that you stay home and enjoy what’s in your city instead of traveling to another.  I think we tend to take the things closer to home for granted.  We can walk around our hometowns and notice the tourists but never quite ‘see’ what they do.   To some, familiarity breeds boredom, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  You can treat a stay-cation the same way that you treat a vacation.  Save, plan where you want to go and do the research.  The immediate benefits are there: you save money on airfare, hotel and souvenirs because you will be at home.  All it takes is a little ingenuity and creativity and you can create an experience for your family (or for yourself if you are single).

How do I get started ?

First, set a budget of what you can actually afford to spend for this stay-cation.  Naturally, how much you spend depends mostly on how many people you are planning for.  Once that’s done, determine what things you like to do as a family.  It should be noted what things you would not like to do as well.  Here are some ideas of activities you can partake in during your own specialized Stay-cation that you  craft for your family:

  • If you own a gaming system like Wii or PS3, plan a multimedia day that consists of borrowing video games from the library to play with the family.  Be sure to grab a great movie from the library while you are there, that you can watch later on.  If you must have a more  recent release, visit your nearest Redbox (usually posted outside Wal-Mart or your local grocery store) dispensary and rent one for the night for one buck!  Buy a large bag of popcorn that you can cook with an air popper and a couple of theater sized candies from the grocery store.
  • Again, the library can offer a veritable fount of ideas for staycations.  My local library actually lends their patrons annual entry and parking passes to any of our state’s parks and recreation centers for one week.  Check to see if your local library offers similar perks.  Psstt……while you are there I hear they let check you out books too!
  • Check out online coupon sites for various fun activities.  Sites like Half Off Depot,  Groupon and Living Social, among others offer great deals for family outings, you will just need to select the city closest to you.  Some of my local deals were for hot air balloon rides ($25.00), a Spa day that consisted of a mani-pedi and massage ($100.00), a hayride and a corn field maze on a local farm (5.00) and a bowling night (30.00).  As you can see, the activities are varied and reasonably priced so you’re bound to find something to keep everyone happy and busy.
  •  If you are still a member of Bank of America (and why are you?), they offer free entry into your local museums the first full weekend of every month.
  • Go see a live play or concert.  It not only promotes the local arts community, but enriches our lives.  Many cities have outlets that provide discounts of up to 50%!
  • Don’t discount how much fun a weekend trip close to home can be.  I live in Atlanta so I decided to take a quick trip (4 hour drive) to Savannah with two other girls and had one of the best times!  I was able to book a one night stay at Courtyard by Marriot for $90.00 via Priceline.  We managed to take a $15.00 trolley tour of the city (talk about photo ops!), do a little souvenir shopping, sightseeing, having lunch at Paula Deen’s restaurant, Lady & Sons (the $16.00 buffet is to die for), attend a musical, visit Tybee Island and walk along the beach and nosh on seafood.
  • Try to see your city through the eyes of a tourist.  What famous landmark or event or activity is your city known for that you haven’t seen?  My city is known for having the world’s largest aquarium, being the birthplace of MLK, Margaret Mitchell (author, Gone with the Wind), CNN, Coca Cola & Centennial Olympic Park.  I’m sure yours has its own treasures to discover, so take the time to check out what you’ve been missing in your own backyard.
  • If you are a college student make use of your student I.D.  There are lots of discounts available to museums, restaurants, comedy clubs, theaters, etc. via your University that you can use for you and your family.  Ditto for Seniors who can enjoy several discounts from companies seeking their business!
  • Visit your city’s website.  They offer many activities sponsored by their parks and recreation department for families.  Some of the things that our city provides are firework displays during the holidays or movies on a gigantic screen at the beginning of summer for the kids.
  • Local churches or community centers often sponsor free exercise driven activities like Zumba to help promote physical activity among their members.

So while times may be tough going, there are several ways to spend quality time with loved ones without going broke.  The benefit that you will get to see and do things that you’ve been putting off without having to pay a bundle.  What home treasures have you put off going to see?



Renee King
[email protected]
  • Annette
    Posted at 23:56h, 23 October Reply

    I just checked off “Visit a Tourist Attraction in My Own Town” on my bucket list and it was so much fun! Many of us tend to take for granted what is in our own backyard.

  • Kimberly Anderson
    Posted at 01:05h, 25 October Reply

    First I’ve heard a “stay-cations” word. Stay home for a vacation instead of travelling. Like your idea. Having a vacation on our local community can help us more to discover many things of our community.

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:56h, 26 October Reply

      Hi Kimberly,

      Thanks for coming by and glad that you discovered something new on my site!

  • Senaf
    Posted at 12:47h, 25 October Reply

    This is a fantastic idea. I had been thinking about what I can blog about since the downturn in our economy. I have already picked out some low cost vacation/weekend in my own town. There is alot to discover and to do in my own community. Thanks for the post!

    • Renee
      Posted at 16:00h, 26 October Reply

      It was my pleasure, Senaf!

  • jade
    Posted at 16:46h, 25 October Reply

    You know we are all about staycations… have to travel and discover the world even when that means exploring your own city. Love it!

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:56h, 26 October Reply

      I’m right there with you, Jade!

  • Debbie Beardsley
    Posted at 16:50h, 25 October Reply

    I think the one area I neglect the most is right around me! I love getting out and exploring the locale I live in. There is always something new and exciting and we’re always saying “Why didn’t we come here sooner?” 🙂

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:55h, 26 October Reply

      I’ve been there! It’s surprising how we can put off doing those things.

  • inka
    Posted at 00:37h, 26 October Reply

    Absolutely, stay-cation is a great alternative and not only if you are on a budget.Just think how many people pay big money to visit the place you have the privilege of living in, in my case Istanbul and Miami. Start appreciating what’s close to you and yes, play tourist in your own backyard.

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:54h, 26 October Reply

      True, Inka….it’s not limited to budget friendly activities at all….just depends on what you are willing to or can afford to spend.

  • Laurel
    Posted at 05:17h, 26 October Reply

    Great ideas Renee. It’s amazing how much we take for granted in our hometowns.

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:46h, 26 October Reply

      That is so true, Laurel. I guess we figure it will always be here.

  • robin
    Posted at 06:34h, 26 October Reply

    Living in Cadiz province on Spain’s southwestern coast, staycations are such a NOBRAINER!

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:16h, 26 October Reply

      Showoff! lol Yes, Robin….I guess it would be for you!

  • Sophie
    Posted at 09:34h, 26 October Reply

    Love exploring the neighbourhood, both here in Scandinavia and around the continent. (With flights costing next to nothing, the ‘neighbourhood’ can be extended considerably, even for day trips 🙂

  • Jeremy Branham
    Posted at 02:27h, 27 October Reply

    As I have explored more of Sacramento, I am amazed at some of the places I have seen close to home that I never knew existed. I don’t like the word ‘staycation’ because the connotation of it seems a bit cheap. However, I have enjoyed exploring places close to where I live for next to nothing! And it’s amazing how many people I have encountered that are getting ideas to do the same thing!

  • Tommy
    Posted at 22:56h, 08 November Reply

    I have done quite a few staycations for my family. It actually became something we looked forward too. There were so many places we had never explored and having a little extra allowed us to do a little more. Great site and article.Thanks

  • Bradley Posselt
    Posted at 01:13h, 09 November Reply

    Wow – I love the idea of just changing your mindset in order to feel like you’re traveling. You have to be careful of using Groupon though…it can be a little dodgy!

    I’d love you to check out our website Trusty Travel Tips for some great travel tips!

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:51h, 14 November Reply

      Hmm….I’ve never had any problems with Groupon….but I won’t say that no one else hasn’t….so we all need to be careful and aware.

  • Eileen Ludwig
    Posted at 23:11h, 11 November Reply

    Love staycations I have been discovering many things and ways to do things for less

    • Renee
      Posted at 09:28h, 14 November Reply

      Isn’t it great how challenges can make us more resourceful?

  • Bill Brikiatis
    Posted at 11:58h, 28 December Reply

    Another option for a staycation is to take a train ride to a nearby city and spend the day. It’s great when you don’t need to drive home at the end of the day.

  • krystal
    Posted at 03:15h, 07 March Reply

    Great ideas, many times we take the things close to us for granted

  • Lee
    Posted at 03:50h, 02 April Reply

    Hi enjoyed reading yout post. Stay cation is defiantly a big thing at the moment. Which has got to be a good thing for the economy in one sense as it is keeping the money spent in our pockets increasing spending at home. So long may it continue once the economy picks up.

    Thanks again.

  • Sally
    Posted at 21:48h, 13 October Reply

    These are lovely ideas and it’s so true, you can make any day special no matter where you are. Sometimes a stay-cation is just what you need!

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