Whether you’re considering taking a weeklong roadtrip or spending a few days in the Bahamas, you’re faced with the harsh reality that leaving town this summer often means spending a small fortune. Last year, more than one-third of vacationers expected to spend over $1,000 on summer vacations, according to an American Express survey.
Lucky for you, there’s a money-saving alternative to the traditional summer vacation: the staycation. For a staycation, you stay in your own city, but adopt the mentality of a vacationer. This not only allows you to save hundreds of dollars on transportation and lodging, but also encourages you to experience everything your city has to offer. Below are some tips on how to get the most from your local exploration and a few reasons why a staycation will benefit your checking account.
It is crucial to plan your staycation as if it were a traditional getaway. This means you need to put in time to search for vacation-worthy local activities—like eating at a new restaurant or going to a local festival—so you won’t get sucked into your usual routine. Planning ahead also makes it more likely that you’ll be able to secure tickets to special events and snag discounts on local activities.
You can use business review sites and apps like CitySearch.com and Yelp to look for the tastiest local restaurants. Yelp also lets you search for local restaurant deals. Similarly, discount sites like Groupon also offer restaurant deals, in addition to bargains on certain local spas, events and activities.
Why Take a Staycation?
Finally, a chance to explore
As a local, it’s easy to take your city’s attractions for granted, but taking a staycation lets you view your city with fresh eyes. To switch gears from thinking like a local, list your favorite things to do when you travel abroad, and then research ways to do those things nearby.
For example, if you like to travel to learn about different cultures, make it a point to visit your local museums and learn about your city’s history. If you like to explore the outdoors, look for new hiking trails or campgrounds nearby. Local theater, dance or musical productions can also provide entertainment as an alternative to movie theaters.
Save on travel and lodging
Travel and lodging can easily eat up most of your vacation budget. The average round-trip flight (including all fees) comes in at roughly $385 for domestic flights and just over $1,200 for international flights. Even if you’re planning to save your money by driving instead of flying, you can expect to pay more at the pump since gas prices are expected to be higher this summer compared to last year. Tacked onto those travel costs is the price of a hotel, averaging $131 per night for domestic hotels and $174 per night for international hotels. These expenses can reach thousands of dollars quickly, and you haven’t even factored in entertainment and food.
Fortunately, it doesn’t cost nearly as much to drive around town. And public transportation can reduce those costs even further.
Makes splurging affordable
With the money you’ll save by taking a staycation, you may have more cash on hand to splurge on things that’ll make your local excursions even more memorable. Take advantage of not paying for travel and lodging by spending more at an upscale restaurant, relaxing at a restorative spa or attending a show you would have normally passed over. And, if you use your credit card you may just rack up enough rewards points to score yourself a sweet flight to paradise just in time for a fall getaway.