photo: Robert S. Donovan
In 2009 we pronounced staycation was the buzzword of 2008. And in early 2010, we said 2009 was the year of the staycation.
What will happen in 2011? With most of the world embracing a more frugal lifestyle, is the staycation here to stay?
A staycation is simply enjoying your vacation time in and around the city you live in. It is a great way to save money by eliminating expenses such as airfare and hotels. It can also be more enjoyable by reducing the stress of travel: you get to take in an attraction or event without all the extra hassle.
Wondering what you can do on a staycation? Practically anything. Chances are, there are many things you’ve never done in your city — things that you likely would have sought out if you were there simply on vacation.
Who needs Disneyland? You might have a local amusement park, or even an annual carnival that can give you thrilling rides, without the long lines.
Another great attraction is a water park. Whether it ‘s water slides or wave pools, this is a great way to beat the heat!
Museums can make a great day trip. They often change their feature exhibit, which helps to keep things exciting for a return visit.
Your local zoo can provide a great educational day trip for the family while some rural farms offer seasonal events and festivals, such as berry picking or choosing the perfect pumpkin at a halloween themed patch. They often include a petting zoo if you have kids that want to get closer to some of the smaller farm animals.
If you live in a major city, then you likely have a few different sports teams to cheer for. Even smaller cities will at least have a minor league team that can be just as exciting to watch. Whether it’s football, hockey, baseball or basketball, all can provide a great time out with friends and family.
How about a concert? Maybe your favourite band is in town, or you might want to take in the local choir or orchestra. Some might even prefer watching a play or the ballet.
Many casinos offer more than just gambling, bringing in stand up comedians and boxing or MMA events for an exciting evening out.
Out of town
Consider heading just outside of town to go camping. This can give you a relaxing time away from the city and won’t cost much for the nightly site rental.
If you like to fish, you could either work it into your camping trip or just enjoy a day on the lake.
Have a nearby beach you can spend a hot summer day at? You can go swimming and work on your tan, or even rent a Sea-Doo!
There are probably some restaurants you’ve heard friends talk about and would like to try out. Maybe have a classic dinner and a movie date night with that special someone?
Some companies have kitchens that allow you to come in and prepare multiple meals to take home and put in your freezer. All the ingredients are pre-measured, you just have to put it together according to the instructions. If you’re normally too busy to put supper together every day, it’s handy to have all these meals ready to go. But more importantly, it can also be a fun day out with the family.
Putting it all together
If you really want to feel like you’re on vacation without the expense and aggravation of travelling, spend a little bit extra on a nice hotel for a week, or even a long weekend. While you’re at the hotel, relax in the hot tub and enjoy that continental breakfast or room service. During the day, try out some of the suggestions above. Buy your local coupon book to save money on activities and get more ideas. It may have some 2-for-1 offers on many attractions and restaurants, some of which you might not have even have known existed.
And the next time you want to go on a vacation, remember that you don’t need to go very far to get away from the usual hustle and bustle and experience something new!
Tom Drake is the head writer for Canadian Finance Blog, writing about universal topics such as saving, frugality and earning extra income, as well as Canadian specific topics like RRSPs and TFSAs. Tom’s other site is Money Index, which aggregates all the best sites into one easy to use source for everything finance.