#913 Travel Savings: Vacation Close To Home – But Not At Home!

21 Mar

Maine coast

Budget vacations included camping in our home state. Beautiful!

I like to think I don’t have many pet peeves. But one of my pet peeves are mash-up words like staycation. Another pet peeve is people who think a staycation is a good idea. I’m all about saving money, but your sanity is more important.

Vacations are meant for relaxation and getting out of your familiar surroundings in order to stimulate your brain and refresh and revive it. You can’t relax when you’re surrounded by the house you have to clean, the bills you have to pay, the laundry you have to do, the ceiling you have to paint, the front steps you have to fix, the dog you have to walk…..I could go on. These are all daily and weekend activities that fill your life on a regular basis. A vacation is stepping outside of all that and letting go. It’s really hard to let go when you’re surrounded by everything that you have to do, want to do or think you should do. So cross the word staycation from your mind and don’t give the idea any credit as a substitute for vacation.

Myth number one about a staycation is that it will save you money. I might be wrong, but unless you have the willpower of steel, with lots of time on your hands and projects and activities to fill your time, you’ll probably end up spending more money than you should. So here are some ways to go on vacation, i.e. go to a relaxing and different environment to let go of your everyday life, without breaking the bank. And plus, you’re already a budget whiz who’s planned and saved for vacation anyways, right?

  • brittany spaniel

    Bringing the dog is easy and saves money if you stay close to home.

    Visit a friend or sibling: We all know someone who lives in a fun place or someone we’d like to see and catch up with. If he or she is within driving, bus or bargain airfare distance, pay them a visit and enjoy yourself. The nice thing about staying with someone is not just the free accommodation, but you’re likely to stay in catching up over dinner and beers or barbecuing the backyard. Which you could have done at home, but it’s much more fun somewhere else. Pitch in with groceries, making meals or bringing booze. Of course, he or she also has a standing invitation to visit you.

  • Bring the dog. Paying for a kennel or someone to watch your dog can really add to vacation costs. Staying close to home usually means it’s pretty easy to bring the dog along. Dogs are just like people, they go nuts and get really stimulated in a new place and in different surroundings.
  • Get to know your state or country. You don’t have to leave your state or country. I can’t think of any country or state that does not have at least one of the following: Natural beauty, interesting attractions, cool towns or hidden treasures. Tourist boards would agree. To save on accommodation if you don’t know anyone, camp, couch surf or get a vacation rental. If you want to remove the temptation of filling your days by buying things or paying for attractions, being in the middle of the woods will fix that problem for you by default. There’s a reason they have nature sounds on relaxing, white noise machines.
  • Go for a long weekend. O.k. so you really can’t afford a full 5 or 10-day trip. Get in a long weekend as your vacation, and you can spend the rest of the time at home. I’m fine with the compromise. I like to vacation at the beginning so I return home more relaxed and can take anything waiting for me at home more in stride. But you could take a long weekend at the end of your time off to get the feeling of “getting away from it all” before returning to work.
  • Pick up a new skill or hobby. You can really get your brain excited and have something to talk about when you return from vacation if you pick up a new skill or hobby. You can learn to cook a certain cuisine (or learn to cook at all), find out everything you wanted to know about fishing or work on photography or writing skills. Some of these you can simply do yourself by picking up your camera or pen and paper. Others you can find free workshops or a knowledgeable aficionado willing to show you. If you do pay for a class, good research can lead  you to a great find for the money.

What was your favorite “I didn’t even leave the state (or country)” vacation?

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