How to Plan an Affordable Staycation for Your Family


With spring arriving and Memorial Day coming up, the warmer weather tends to prompt visions of vacation possibilities. Florida! Cancun! A Caribbean cruise! These vacations all have a few things in common: fun, exotic, and…expensive. Paying for airfare, travel accommodations, and eating out will take a significant bite out of the household budget. And, of course, often the more popular the locale, the spendier the price tag.

But you don’t need to pay top dollar to get some much needed rest and relaxation. Instead of a vacation, consider a ‘staycation’ for an upcoming long weekend or summer trip. With a staycation, you still take time off from work, school, and other responsibilities, but don’t have to leave home.

Here are some tips for making sure the price is right for your staycation.

Stock up on food.

With a little bit of forethought and planning, you can get everything you need to eat for your staycation before it even starts. A grocery store costs less than a restaurant and buying ingredients that you prepare yourself can yield more than just one meal. Since it’s your staycation, the menu can be whatever you want. And don’t underestimate how helpful an online “how to” video can be for recipes. (But maybe find a place to stash your special staycation snacks, so they remain hidden from little hands in the meantime!)

Acquire some entertainment.

One word: Library! Your public library is rich with all the things you need to entertain yourself during a relaxing staycation. Books, magazines, movies, and entire seasons of TV shows are available to borrow and it won’t cost you a penny (provided you return them on time, of course).

Take it outside.

When the weather is nice, outside is the place to be! Breakfast, lunch, or just a coffee break can be made more relaxing when it is enjoyed in your yard or local park. Bring a blanket and a book, or for the more adventurous, look into setting up a hammock. Then plan to take a walk, play frisbee, fish, or participate in other activities outdoors. The point is, if the sun is out, go and absorb some Vitamin D.


Bear with me on this one! Even if working out is not your favorite thing, doing something physical for just 20 minutes each day can keep you healthy, energized, and in a good mood for your staycation. You don’t have to run a marathon or climb a mountain. Walk, bike, or do some light cardio at home. Who knows? The results might convince you to stick with it after the staycation is over.

Have guests over.

Just because your friends aren’t on staycation, doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Have people over to enjoy the food and entertainment with you one or two of your scheduled staycation days. Invite them to bring a dessert and/or a game over, or you can go simple and watch a movie with popcorn. The point of the staycation is to do the things that you like to do year round, but don’t always have the time to enjoy. So share this free time with your friends and let them enjoy your staycation as well.

Sharpen those vacation skills.

Doing a staycation now doesn’t mean you can’t take a vacation later. In fact, a good staycation can help you prepare for future vacations. Look at your home town as if you were traveling there to vacation. Research what sort of activities or landmarks there are to visit. Museums, parks, and local festivals are all things that can get you out of the house and rediscovering your own city in this open time. These same vacation planning skills will serve you well when you take a trip out of town next.

When you come back from your staycation, you should be relaxed, energized and ready to take on the world. And if your bank account happens to still have money in it, that would be pretty great too!

Photo Credit: Louis Hall

Originally Published 3/30/2017