5 Steps to a Fantastic Stay at Home Vacation

by Jamie Simmerman · 10 comments

For the first five years of our marriage (before kids), my husband and I went on a nice week long, out of state vacation at least once a year. We also racked up quite a bit of credit card debt in the process. Now, we’re much more careful with our money and only plan an out of town vacation when we can pay for the trip in its entirety – in cash. That means many years are spent at home, planning a staycation. Here are a few tips to help your next stay at home vacation be one of your best vacations ever.

  1. The Bucket List. If you don’t have a bucket list, or a list of things you want to experience before you die, make one out prior to planning your staycation. While many bucket lists include extensive travel, you will most likely find a few things that can be accomplished locally, like zip lining, bungee jumping, or painting a self-portrait. You may want to research your family genealogy, write a novel, or grow your own flowers from seed. The options are as diverse as your interest, and choosing one or more items from your bucket list to complete during your staycation is a sure-fire way to make your time at home memorable.
  2. Spoil yourself. Make a list of all those things you want to do during the workweek, but never find the time to indulge in with your busy schedule. Take an hour long bubble bath, have your coffee in the front yard during the sunrise, gaze at the stars, read a book in one sitting, make a five course meal, or sleep past noon. All those time-consuming tasks that tickle the back of your mind when you’re tired of working can now be made a priority during your stay at home vacation.
  3. Involve the family. Ask each family member, “If you could do anything you wanted to today, with a budget of $50, what would you do?” You may find that your daughter has always wanted to learn to identify birds by their songs, or your son dreams of visiting a classic car show. Devote one day to fulfilling each family member’s list.
  4. Choose a theme. Depending on how wacky you want to get, a themed staycation can be a real blast! You can adopt an Australian accent for the week and eat shrimp on the barbee every night. Transform your backyard into a tropical paradise and sunbathe while you learn to Hula dance from YouTube. Let your imagination be your travel guide and let loose a little during your stay at home vacation.
  5. Make memories. One of the best ways to ensure your staycation is a hit is to make an intentional effort to make lasting memories. Dance in the rain, eat ice cream before dinner, look through old photo albums, and document your staycation through journaling, photography, or video.

What are the best stay at home vacations you’ve ever had? What tips do you have for others planning a memorable staycation this summer?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Buck @ changemakerblog.com says:

    It might sound silly to take a guided tour of a place you think you know all there is to know about, but I’ve done it and I learned a whole lot of things I never knew. Walking tours are especially fun for this because you will find nooks and crannies you never knew about. It’s a great way to re-enliven a place you thought you knew.

  • Benny W. Barber says:

    Take me off your e-mail list. I have asked twice to be removed. I never asked to be placed on your list. PLEASE TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST!!!!!

  • Rye @ Mis-Sold PPI says:

    Vacations do not have to involve an expensive/costly getaway. These are great tips right here to make your vacation or “staycation” a special one. Another idea for an inexpensive vacation is you can explore a part of your city which your family has not been to before and do sight-seeing then eat out at a fine inexpensive restaurant you haven’t gone too as well.

  • Marbella says:

    I askes often where I should go on my vacation. But I chose many years ago to live in a resort, instead, I live in one of Europe’s most popular holiday destination, Spain – Costa del Sol – Marbella. So I never go anywhere, all come here instead, sun, beaches, food, culture and nightlife.

  • Francesca says:

    Our state is full of historical places. Taking short day trips to places near our home is not that expensive even with the gas prices. Sharing the cost of short trips with another couple makes it cheaper and more fun. Another way to save on trips is to join a senior citizens, fifty forward club and go on trips with them. We are retired and that means we live on a fixed income so once a year we indulge ourselves by visiting family in other states. We also invite family to visit our state to reciprocate. Just wish our government would live within their budget and stop asking for more tax money. The more we have to pay the less we can do at home or traveling.

  • Jean says:

    It is a really good idea. There are so many things we could indulge ourselves in right at home that would be a lot of fun and a good bit cheaper. A few weekends ago, all of us went on a long drive but within the city itself! Got to check out the many nooks and crannies that we had never explored previously.


  • Lance@MoneyLife&More says:

    I might add something like don’t do any chores you don’t have to. Try to make it like you were going on vacation and save the chores for when you go back.

  • M Meagher says:

    Most of us get jaded by living in one place. the same old, same old. But what if you tried to plan a vacation as if you were renting this house that you actually live in. There are bound to be fascinating landmarks, historical societies, outdoor activities, civic functions going on. I happen to live in a vacation destination area and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of activities that tourists partake in. Just pretend to be the tourist for outings, you could even include a meal or two out as a splurge…lunch perhaps for the frugal side of things.

  • ImpulseSave says:

    Love this idea of asking a family member what they would want to do. Even if it’s not your favorite thing, it will feel so good to make it their special day and you may end up enjoying it more than you thought! Great ideas!

  • sandra says:

    Thanks. I will have some of this. Every year a spent a lot of my vacation days at home, and with the economic crisis here in Portugal, this year is gona be hard. Thank you for the positiv thoughts.

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