Staycation, anyone?

Staycation vacation time! Finally, we can travel again – sort of. We’ve gone from the busy lives of barely ever home to always home, quarantine, work-from-home, to on the road again. Despite the global pandemic, being home all the time was fun for a while, right? 

staycation word in caps near yellow suitcase with sun hat on handles
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Many of us learned new things, picked up unexpected hobbies, spent more time with family, and dreamed about the places we’d like to travel. 

It even got a little sad for a while. We longed for intimate and meaningful connections with people. Hugs were far and few between. 

The vacation bug was hitting us all hard, though! Do you agree, or am I right? We were in desperate need of a getaway, or simply a get out, based on the circumstances that confronted us all. 

sad woman missing vacation on chair in bedroom facing window
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Of course, now that we are able to resume traveling, we’re also going through record high inflation. So, we’re all trying to save money and watch our budget. That’s why it’s the perfect time for a low-cost and close-to-home vacation. Plus, short trips give us the freedom to take them more frequently, like over a long weekend. 

What is a staycation? 

According to the Oxford dictionary, a staycation is a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions. A holistay is essentially the same thing, but in British-English form. 

Not everyone realizes that staycations are just a form of domestic tourism close to home. That doesn’t necessarily  mean taking a hyper local trip

Even local adventures can take us across borders, to new towns, counties, states, and even countries, depending on your home location. For the best staycation experiences, head for a destination you can get to quickly, affordably,  and comfortably. 

It’s subjective and depends on one’s personal circumstances and preferences. Some people might love the visual tour that comes with a 12-hour train ride. Other people might prefer a 2 hour plane ride or four hour car drive. Which experience is more practical and enjoyable depends on the individual, we  all need to ask ourselves what we want to get out of the experience before we travel. 

vacation staycation holistay word in dice
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What’s the best staycation? 

Spontaneity can be a key component of the best staycations. The other day I was sitting at my computer working and I was distracted by the mundane routine of the day. It was hard to focus. I love that I can work from home, but I’m always home. 

The next thing I knew, I clicked open a new browser tab and was searching flights for a spontaneous staycation.

It’s only a 90 minute plane ride to visit my sister and her family. Has it really been four years? As I sat there staring at my oversized screen, I felt mournful of time lost. I mean, time is the one thing we can’t recover, replace, or buy. 

I don’t want to look back and wonder whether I should have spent it differently. So, a few quick clicks and $118.20 later, I had a roundtrip ticket to visit my people! For me, sitting on a lawn chair with a mocktail, a pair of shades, my camera and great company is worth the trip. 

However, I’ll likely transform my experience into an elevated memory of a love affair with nature via the Oregon Coast. The escape will be a welcome reprieve from critical deadlines, extraordinarily long meetings, and the limitations of the walls that surround me 12 hours daily. 

In anticipation of the escape, I’m already metaphorically teleporting to the simple pleasures and traditions of childhood, like salt water taffy, delectable fudge, and succulent treats. A sentimental road trip to the beach town shore with a wide range of budget friendly activities is the perfect way to enjoy summer days. 

I’m so glad I’ll have a few days following spring and autumn to reset. June, July, and August are those coveted family vacation months in both the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere. Cheap vacations, or at least ones that don’t require breaking the bank, can include a State Park, botanical gardens, and even some inclusive resorts or the popular destination of the Grand Canyon. 

Budget friendly ideas to save money on your next trip 

This might be the most relevant focus, at least in the United States, right now. Reducing costs and maximizing opportunities for memorable experiences and fun is the goal for many travelers. Here are some ways to leverage low cost excursions.

  • Use credit cards that offer the highest travel rewards.
  • Bundle your purchases into packages.
  • Book last-minute adventures at low prices
  • Look beyond the ads. Great deals don’t require advertisements to sell out, so you might not see them on your social media feeds or browsers. Instead, you have to find them.
  • Check for flights from regional airports and compare prices.
  • Schedule your staycation travel well in advance when you don’t have the flexibility to travel spontaneously. 
  • Plan some meals that can be made on-the-go, like sandwiches, fruits, and uncooked food that can be bought at the local grocery store, rather than eating at restaurants. 
  • Review alternative methods of travel, such as roadtrips, by train, or even with groups.

Low cost destinations near you

  • Check out historical locations, buildings, and popup events.
  • Visit museums, monuments, and local tourist attractions.
  • Participate in a local photography tour to find hidden places of interest and beauty in your own backyard.
  • Bask or splash at your nearest lake, water park, or coast. 
  • Grab your tent and the marshmallows for a fun retreat at your nearest State Park or camp grounds.
  • Spend the weekend at an Airbnb in your hometown. 
  • Have a fun themed party in your own yard and make a weekend of it!

The global pandemic forced us to reimagine our lives and reevaluate our priorities. We’ve discovered that people, experiences, and time are some of our most valuable treasures. These ideas were so prevalent that the nation even went through what is now known as The Great Resignation.

The lessons that led us to shift our schedules, values, and lives should not be forgotten. Honestly, my own life seemed to always get in the way of travel and adventures. At least, that’s the excuse I believed was true. 

That popular saying, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ rang true for me. It was easy to tell myself that I’d visit my family later. 

Who knows when later was ever going to show itself, but that’s how I justified missing out on time with the people I love most, or doing the things I most enjoyed.

During the Great Depression, people found ways to entertain themselves through no cost or inexpensive activities. Movies provided a much needed escape for people and often had deals and discounts to entice people. We need to allow ourselves to experience the uniquely human depths and variety of emotions for our own balanced mental health – for our souls.

If you’ve been putting off that trip, reconsider your vacation. You deserve it and don’t have to go far and you certainly don’t need to overspend. Just remember how much we missed exploring the outside world when we were locked in our homes. Go explore the wonders around you. 

Hoping these budget vacation ideas were helpful and wishing you every opportunity to staycation your summer! We’re so fortunate to be able to plan again. Personally, I won’t ever forget when all plans were on hold and none of us knew what the next day would bring. Let’s go back to planning for brighter days to come.