Summer is here, but alas, for me there is no summer vacation. I do not have a child, my wife does not attend to school, summer vacation to us holds no extra excitement. It used to be one of the most cherished days during my school years. But that is 15 years back!
During childhood, every summer vacation, I used to visit some distant relative’s place, or to some colder places to enjoy better climate for few days, along with my parents and elder brother. My home town was not exactly an ideal place to be in summer. Winter vacations were more fun-filled and full of activities, tours and rides. We used to go to hills, seas, Mountains and historical site seeing.
We never really felt that money for vacation is a constraint, at least dad didn’t let us feel that way. We were never a big spender either, always stayed in budget hotels, and opted for cheaper meals, bought our stuffs after a lot of bargaining.
My horizon has now expanded beyond my own family, I know there are people with a dozen of BMW’s and Mercedes’s, also there are people who has to take help of coupons to make end’s meet. Irrespective of you have money or not, you, like me, would prefer saving if there’s really an option available, isn’t it? Well, this blog is for you. This is about saving money while enjoying your life, enjoying the beauty around you, your home and your family.
At the same time, this blog is also for the people who had excessive vacations in the past or the people who prefer to stay put at their own town or city. It might be for few others who are afraid to fly 🙂
Let me start with a question, do you know which is the tallest building in your city? Have you ever been at the top of it? Most of us will answer these in negative. The problem is, other side of the river always attracts more than the side you are standing on, and we never explore this side of the river fully. Why don’t we take a staycation is summer?
A staycation is a vacation without travel, if you have not known it already.
A staycation, is a great alternative for your travel need if you are running low on time or money. Even if you are not concerned about the time and money, you do need a Staycation to..
Last year we took an expensive vacation, we were on road trip from Boston to Chicago via Vermont, Niagara, Detroit and came back to Boston via Indianapolis, Pennsylvania Washington DC and NYC. It costed us a fortune, even though we uncovered many hidden ways to cut costs. This year we are not going for an expensive tour. We will enjoy the weather and beauty of south Florida, where we live, and save money while knowing this place better.
Few Of My Staycation Plans
We will go for fishing at local park, fortunately here, there is no darth of fishing opportunities, few birthdays back, my wife gifted my a fishing rod which still has its packaging in-tact. This summer is the time to unpack that.
Both, my wife SMB, and I are a fan of the book and the movie “Bridges of Madison County”, a Google search indicated there are many covered bridges in central Florida , just a few hours of drive from our home, we can return the same day.
We will conquer the tallest buildings in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, get some nice pictures of the cities to boast off on Facebook.
We will walk on the same way we drive for work and grocery every day, we may also get bicycles and explore Everglades area. Although being in Florida for past 6 years, we visited Everglades many times, but never on a bike.
I have enrolled in Bank of America “free museum Days” alerts, next time I get an alert we will visit museums, which we never visited. It feels awkward to tell that we almost scanned through most of the Smithsonian but never visited a local museum. I heard ft. Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science is a great place to visit, that’s my first target.
During season, we will visit local orange groves and enjoy a day out in one of the farms. We visited apple farms in Vermont last year (during our road trip), the pictures of which still draw comments on Facebook. Want to take similar few shots in an Orange grove.
We will visit local Lion safari and Japanese garden this year. We covered all Orlando parks, but never been to the local attractions. Waiting for the discount coupons.
We will continue to attend community theaters and watch a few Saturday evening movies for free.
Although I am not exactly planning to beat Tiger in near future, we want to take golf lessons. There are many fabulous golf courses around my place.
I prefer to watch Miami Heat matches on TV (been in to the stadium only once, that too after SMB won a raffle and got tickets for free), we will explore other cheaper alternatives to watch local games. Florida Panthers offers free tickets occasionally (Florida residents only), waiting for the next offer.
We will arrange a BBQ with friends on the beach and enjoy the sun. We will also enjoy 4th July fire works on the atlantic. Off course we won’t book a boat, rather watch it from the beach.
We will attend local Mango festival and other tropical food festivals, which we missed last year.
You might not be as lucky as I am, living in a place like Florida, a perfect tourist destination with sun , parks, boats and ocean galore. But you might have various other options. you might have mountains, the river, the falls and the fall foliage which I miss. I went up north in a flight to see fall colors, you might see it in your backyard.
What Are Your Staycation Options
|Visit farmers markets, see how a farm is operated, teach your kids. They otherwise never would see a cow or a sheep. Visit local events like balloon riding, kite festivals or rodeo.Visit local museums, zoo, comedy shows fire works chilly cook offs, local arts and craft shows. Even a visit for an hour to couple of antique shops would be a nice spend of your time.Volunteer at local organization, plant trees for them, landscape their garden. Paint a local disabled care center or Autism care center. Visit few nurseries, see how they take care of their plants, how a green house is maintained.|
Try to look for a city tour, if it’s in your budget go for it. Check out your area’s visitor’s guide. These days every information is available online. Do get coupons though.
Try to locate spots to take beautiful pictures within 5 miles radius of your home, go out in the morning, walk or bike, go your own ways (if your kids are big enough). Get together for lunch at local restaurants and then again go out your own ways. Come back home and share the pictures with each other, vote and award the winner. (OK the last one is my imagination!)
Check-in to your local library, they always carry posters and leaflet’s with information on local educational events. Attend movie shows or other library events.
If you have nice view, fall colors in your backyard, call your friends have a sit n draw for your kids, along with a BBQ lunch, how cool that sounds?
Are they not money-saving staycation tips?
Not convinced? Here is what the saving is as compared to a normal vacation. Let’s assume a 5 days vacation to place vs. 5 days of Staycation.
Vacation (per person) Cost
Flight = $200 (flight ticket), Rental Car = $50 ($200 for four persons) , Gas = $25 ($100 total gas bill for four), Food = $200 ($40 per person per day for 5 days), Souvenir = $50, Shopping=$100, Hotel = $200 ($80 per room with two persons in each room for five days), Incidentals and tours = $125, Vacation splurge = $50
Total = $1000
Staycation (per person) Cost
Gas = $25, Food = $100 ( you will do at least one or two meals at home each day), Incidentals and tours = $125
Total = $250
Saving on money spent increases the satisfaction from vacation. So this summer plan a Staycation with your family. Like you do for vacation, take off from work for few days and enjoy your surroundings, take some cool pictures, be with your family. There are a lot of opportunities around, just we need to look out for. We don’t need to pay big bucks to enjoy these little things. Give your family a treat today, now!
I will give you one tip, which I often adopt to great success.
Do not tell your spouse or children about your plan in advance, on the night before the day announce what you are going to do on the next day, you will be one super hero or heroine at your home!
Bad thing of this is, you can’t give surprises always, otherwise they will be disheartened when you don’t have a plan. What are your ideas for a staycation? Like to share?