There is something so freeing about no deadlines, no meetings or emails, and no hustle and bustle. A vacation is a must to take some well-deserved time and get away from work.
There are plenty of things you can do after work each week to relax, but nothing beats a few days off and vacation!
But so many people aren’t sure how to travel cheap and wind up skipping vacations. NO WAY, you need your vacation now more than ever!
We need options for our family to spend time relaxing and can’t always get a real vacation in the works.
Taking a day trip or getting to a local park are good ideas for family fun, but let us help you take it a step further. Vacations at home or staycations are the perfect solution for you to recharge your batteries without draining your bank account.
Staycations plans depend on your travel budget, but with a little bit of creativity and planning, you can live your best life away from the working grind. Check out some of our staycation ideas and get ready for your big break. Schedule your vacation time, maybe get a little bit of wine and food ready, and get relaxing.
36 Fun Staycation Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank
1. Act Like a Tourist
Grab your knee-high socks, sandals, fanny pack, camera, and take off to explore the special sights in your city. Sometimes we forget to appreciate our town the same way a tourist does.
There may be a whole new world waiting for you right nearby! A staycation is a great opportunity to fall in love with your city again by visiting museums, amusement parks, and historic districts. Find a new spot to have a good meal, spend some time people-watching at a local park, or see if there’s a new bar with live music.
2. Have a Spa Day Out
Your staycation should be all about pampering and taking care of yourself! Depending on your budget, you can do spa day at home or hit up your local spa for some pampering and a mandated cell phone-free zone.
Full-day spa packages can be expensive, but most spas allow the use of their facilities for the whole day if you book just one service.
3. Have a Home Spa Day
If a day at your local spa is not in the cards, a home spa day with face masks, bubble baths, and mani-pedis maybe even more fun! You can customize what you do, what (and how much) you drink and snack on, and spending time in bed is never a bad idea!
Instead of listening to classical music, you can do it all while watching a movie on Netflix and eating chips- the perfect plans as far as we’re concerned.
4. Take a Class
Have you always wanted to learn how to make the perfect creme brûlée or sculpt pottery or fly through the air on a trapeze, but didn’t have the time? Your staycation is a great time to take that class you haven’t had time for.
One of our favorite places to learn new skills is right from Skill Share.
5. Get Outside
Getting outside is always one of the most fun staycation ideas to try out. Fresh air and sunshine are the cure for the 9-5 blues. Head outside for a hike, go canoeing, or just lay around like a lizard basking in the sunshine! Even just going to the backyard to relax will boost your mood and make you feel refreshed.
Enjoying the outdoors is always a great date night idea as well!
6. Plan a Theme Night
Just because you couldn’t travel to Mexico doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little Mexico to you with a special themed dinner. Think of your favorite food, your favorite getaway- and bring it to your living room! It’s a great way to escape to another time and place without leaving home.
It feels good to give back. Pick an organization or cause close to your heart and give some time to it while you’ve got some time to give.
8. Rent a Room
Nothing says you can’t stay at a hotel in your hometown. If you have little money for the expenditure, a getaway without going too far feels extravagant without having to cost a ton. Tons of hotels have pools and hot tubs too! Order room service, kick up your feet and enjoy someone else doing the dishes.
Using a site like Trip Advisor is a great way to ensure you are getting a great deal on your travel needs.
9. Invite Your Friends for a Sleepover
Channel your inner Cher Horowitz, grab a pint of ice cream, and laugh the night away with your friends.
It doesn’t matter how old you are – a sleepover is always a fun thing to do! As the host, there are lots of fun easy plans you can make with them.
If you want to do something a bit more active than watching a movie, you could make cocktails or check Pinterest for silly activities.
10. Go Camping
Camping is a low-cost way to change your scenery and get all the benefits of fresh air and quiet.
Depending on where you live, stay local and travel to a state park or pitch a tent in your backyard and do some lazy glamping!
If you don’t have your own camping equipment (a tent would be pretty handy), ask your friends if they have one that you could borrow, or even consider renting an RV so you can enjoy the great outdoors.
There are plenty of awesome activities to do right in your backyard.
11. Spend the day at a Pool
Cool water and hot sun? Sign me up! If you have your own pool then this is really cost-effective, and likewise, if you have some good friends or family who may let mooch off of them.
If not, you can check out your local pool as a fun day out with your loved ones.
12. Head to a Game
Take yourself out to a ballgame! It’s a scientific fact that popcorn and nachos taste better when you’re watching a game.
13. Have a Game Night
Don’t feel like fighting the crowds at the local stadium, but still feel the spirit of competition? Host a game night at home! You can invite your friends or have a Battle Royale with your family.
14. Create Something
This could be crafting, painting, woodwork, or any variety of things. If you’re using your left brain at work all the time, use your staycation to relax your right brain for a change.
15. Check out Local Theater
Local art theaters are not so hidden gems. An enchanting evening at the theater for a comedy show, concert, or musical is an affordable treat that showcases local talent!
16. Explore Your Nearest National Park
Find the nearest National Park and go check it out! National Parks are truly one of the nation’s treasures and make learning more about our nation’s history fun!
17. Take a Nap
Crawling into bed in the middle of the day just because you can is such a great feeling. Being at home can feel like bliss when you have no deadlines!
18. Tour a Virtual Museum
Just because you can’t get to Paris doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the art of the Louvre. There are hundreds of free virtual museum tours that you can take from the comfort of your home. Bonus! You don’t even have to wear pants.
19. Grab Your Keys and Drive
Hitting the back roads with no destination in mind, with the wind whipping through your hair, is a luxury not truly appreciated since Sunday drives were a thing. Pack up a picnic, download some old music favorites, and just wander around town.
20. Visit Your Local Zoo or Aquarium
Kids and adults alike love to gawk over animals being animals. Zoos and aquariums are a great place for a casual afternoon stroll with adorable entertainment.
The great thing about your local zoo or aquarium is that the costs are generally low and a fun day out for all of the family.
21. Have a Progressive Dinner
Progressive dinners are all the rage right now and for good reason! In a progressive dinner, each course is at a different restaurant or a different host’s house.
It is a great way to stretch out an evening of yummy dining and get to sample the cuisine in a variety of places.
22. Create an Escape Room
Virtual escape rooms are popping up everywhere, but if you are up for a different challenge, you can create your own!
This could be something that you do with all of your friends – just Google how to create your own escape room and get started.
23. Take a Day Trip
Taking a quick trip out of town is a simple plan to escape the day-to-day without busting the budget wide open. There are probably loads of amazing local places that you can visit without traveling very far.
24. Host a Movie Night
You can rent the latest blockbuster or revisit an old classic from the comfort of your own home. There’s no markup on the popcorn at home and nobody cares if you talk over the credits.
There are plenty of places online to find free movies to watch that you should never run out of ideas.
25. Build a Fire and Have S’mores
S’mores are a good idea if you’re 5 or 75. There’s just something magical about sitting around a fire and eating chocolate. You can even substitute graham crackers with your favorite cookies!
It’s perfect for those slightly colder nights when you can huddle around a fire in the yard with your loved ones.
26. Learn a New Skill
There’s no time like the present! Now’s the time to dive into YouTube or read some books and teach yourself to do that thing you’ve always wanted to master.
It could be anything – a new language, woodwork, baking, gardening, a new sport – your staycation ideas are endless!
27. Reconnect with an Old Hobby
Staycation is a perfect time to reconnect yourself with something you used to love doing. Hobbies are usually the first thing to get the boot when life gets busy. Take a trip down memory lane and rediscover your old hobbies during vacation. There are some hobbies you can make money with even.
28. Plant a Garden
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there is something so satisfying about planting a garden. It’s even better if you get some fruits and vegetables out of the deal!
If you have children, they will love doing this with you and it’s a great way for them to learn an important life skill.
29. Perfect the Picnic
Whether you are a charcuterie lover or a sandwich and chips kinda person, picnics are a fantastic way to take something rote like eating and put a fun spin on it. Pack up your wine, beer, and whatever foods you feel like- just don’t forget the blanket!
30. Check out the Local Library
Head into your local library to channel your inner Belle or find the perfect DVD for movie night. Libraries aren’t just for books anymore.
The great thing about libraries is that they are perfect for any age group. There are quiet corners for you to get lost in a book or free wifi to surf the web.
There are often activities for children too, so you check online to make some plans and make a nice day of it.
31. Connect with Your Inner Kid
Park? Yes! Paintball? Definitely! Mini Golf? Absolutely! Get silly and let your inner kid take the reins for a day.
32. Tackle a Project
Planning and executing a project during your staycation might sound not-so relaxing, but think of how good you’ll feel looking at your finished project when you’ve been putting it off!
33. Hit Up a Local Market
Grocery shopping doesn’t exactly sound like vacation material- unless you find a new place to explore! Find a Farmer’s Market or produce stand in your area and don’t feel bad about oohing and ahhing over the gorgeous produce.
34. Give Yourself a Makeover
When you know you don’t have to be at work tomorrow, you’re going to be a lot more willing to try that hairstyle you’ve been eyeing or the new lip stain everyone swears by.
You can involve your whole family or some friends as well, if they are up for it. It could be a chance for the whole family to get a fresh new look! It’s cheaper to do a makeover at home and the possibilities are endless.
35. Read a Good Book
Escape into a good book and let it distract you from life for a bit. A vacation can take you to lots of places but a good book can take you anywhere.
36. Do Nothing
A staycation can be anything you want it to be. It’s all up to you. No schedule. No plans. No place to be. If you feel burned out, the best thing you can do for yourself might be nothing.
Bonus: Tips You Can Take To Save More Money For Your Staycation
1. Host a Garage Sale
You probably have plenty of stuff lying around your house that you’re not using. Host a garage sale and get rid of clutter while simultaneously saving for your staycation. It’s a win/win!
2. Save Your Coffee Money
We love the idea of saving your coffee money. Stopping by your local coffee shop every day adds up. Instead of your daily cup of Joe, put that money towards treating yourself to a weekend staycation.
When you curb some of your extra spending in your budget, you can stash it away for another staycation!
3. Take on a Side Hustle
Side hustles can vary from something you do on your days off like Instacart shopper or Uber Driver to something you do because you love it like selling your crocheted items. Either way, a little extra income can mean a little extra pizazz for your staycation.
We love a good of side hustles because sometimes you don’t want to dip into your main income and that’s ok. Take your skills and experience and turn it into more cash in your pocket!
4. Cancel Stuff You Don’t Use
Sounds simple enough, but you might be surprised to find out just how much $3.99 here and $6.99 there adds up over the course of a year. An easy way to do this is to go through your bank statements and have a look at what has been coming out regularly.
You may have to be a bit brutally honest with yourself- as we like to lie to ourselves that we’ll finally go to the gym. If we’ve been paying for it for a year and still haven’t stepped foot in the door, it may be time to cancel it for now.
5. Write a Grocery List and Stick to It!
Spending a little extra every week on things you don’t need from the store adds up! That 5lb box of Twizzlers isn’t getting you any closer to the staycation of your dreams.
After all, when you write out a list of things that you need, you already chose what you want. You need to make sure that you aren’t derailed by clever marketing in a shop and forget what you were going there for. Spending less money at the grocery store isn’t as hard as you’d think.
Don’t forget shopping online to save some extra moolah, have you tried using Rakuten to rack up your saving?
Final Thoughts On Staycation Ideas
Now, we have plenty of ideas for cheap weekend getaways, but sometimes planning a big trip can take so much out of you and tire you out just as your vacation is beginning!
One of the best parts of being away from your day-to-day responsibilities is the chance to recharge.
Just because you take a staycation doesn’t mean you don’t get to recharge while at home. Leave the laundry alone for another day, order takeout instead of cooking, plop down with a good book, and ignore the tornado of chaos around you.
You can staycation once a month or once a year- it’s up to you. Take a weekend, take a week, take whatever you can for yourself. The key to a successful staycation is that you do what brings you joy when you need it most.