Staycation 101: Vacation Locally on a Budget




It’s a struggle that many of us know all too well. We want to get away and explore the world, but our wallets don’t always permit it. Enter the staycation: your low-budget alternative to journeying abroad!

It’s a kind of vacation that allows you to explore your own city and its surroundings while also allowing you to save money (and maybe a bit of sanity). With careful planning and some smart budgeting techniques, you can treat yourself to an exciting staycation without breaking the bank.

Let’s face it – staying home has become the new norm these days, so why not make the most of it? Here you’ll find all the basics for planning an unforgettable staycation experience on a budget! Read on for tips and tricks on how to plan your perfect staycation.

Choose Your Destination & Budget

With a staycation, all you need to do to get ideas is focus on the region or country you live in and all the wonderful possibilities that come with that. Are there any nearby cities or towns you’ve been wanting to explore? Or, if you’re feeling adventurous and would like something bigger, why not plan a grand excursion within your own country?

Maybe instead of hopping planes and heading abroad, you should look at domestic destinations. The US has plenty of cities that offer unique experiences without having to break the bank—places like Washington DC, Nashville, New York City, and Atlanta are just some of the budget-friendly US locations you can explore.


If international travel is more your speed, but you’re looking for cheap options, then consider countries in Asia or Central America. Thailand and Cambodia are always popular destinations for their amazing food and culture—but don’t forget about Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Greece either! Those international tourist hot spots are incredibly affordable and definitely worth visiting.

Utilize Travel Discounts & Coupons

Planning a staycation doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the great deals and discounts you can find when traveling. With a bit of research, you can often find coupons and discounts for attractions, lodging, and travel costs. As an added bonus, some of these deals will allow you to do activities that are normally too expensive for a budget-friendly vacation.

Start by checking for discounts online, through sites like Groupon or Expedia. Look for coupons offered directly from lodging providers or other attractions. Some hotels may even offer discounts on spa services or meals.

You can also save money by being flexible with your dates. Many places offer discounts during the off-season, so try to plan your staycation when there are fewer people in town. Additionally, if you have multiple destinations on your itinerary during your staycation, look for packages that bundle several attractions together at a lower cost than buying each one separately would be.

Plan Ahead to Cut Costs

Staying on budget can be tough when taking a vacation, even if you’re staying local. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

Here are some of the things you can do to save money and stay within your budget:

Track Spending Habits

The first step in getting a handle on your finances is to track your spending habits. This means keeping a detailed record of what you buy and how much it costs — so you know exactly where your money is going each month. This will help you identify areas where you could be overspending, which will give you an idea of places where you can cut costs.

Consolidate Debt

If possible, it might be a good idea to consolidate debt. This involves paying off smaller debts with one large loan that has lower interest rates — so it’s easier to manage payments, and costs less in the long run.

Set SMART Financial Goals

Finally, create SMART financial goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). By breaking down bigger goals into smaller chunks that fit these criteria, it will be easier for you to stay within budget and work towards your larger financial objectives.


Take Advantage of Free Activities

You don’t need to spend money for a great staycation. There are plenty of free activities you can take advantage of around your city or town! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Take a Stroll

A great place to start is simply by taking a walk. You can explore your neighborhood or go on an adventure and find a new one. Bonus points if you bring a camera and take pictures of the places you visit—you can even make an album of your staycation excursion!

Attend Local Events

Events like concerts in the park, farmers’ markets, movie nights at the local theater, museum days, and outdoor festivals are usually free or charge only nominal fees. Most cities also have “arts and culture” districts with galleries and museums. Check out local newspapers and your city’s website for events happening near you!

Go Camping

If the weather is decent, then camping is another great way to enjoy a staycation without spending much money. Many parks allow overnight stays for free—just be sure to call ahead for availability and know any regulations before you go.

Whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet or an adventure off the beaten path, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a low-cost vacation with the people who matter most.

Pack Smart to Save Money

When it comes to staycations, you’ll want to make sure you save money wherever possible. A great way to do this is by packing smart and avoiding costly baggage fees on your travels.

Check the Airline Regulations

Most airlines have restrictions on how much luggage you can carry, and small items like purses or laptop bags should be part of your allowance. But sometimes airlines can be strict, so it’s a good idea to check out their regulations before going on a staycation—you don’t want any surprises at the airport!

Bring Entertainment with You

Of course, when you’re packing for your staycation, you don’t want all of your items to be practical ones, like clothes and toiletries. You’ll need some fun and entertainment too! You can save money by bringing along our Be Smart, Save Money Coloring and Activity Book Fun Pack—it includes 16 pages of activities and games plus 4 crayons. Your kids will love it!

So if your next staycation is coming up soon, think about how you can save money on those pesky luggage fees. By being mindful of what you take with you and bringing some creative entertainment like the Be Smart, Save Money Coloring Book Fun Pack for the family, you could end up with more cash in your pocket at the end of your vacation.

Celebrate Your Vacay on a Budget

You don’t need to break the bank to celebrate your staycation. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or fun in the sun, there are plenty of ways to vacation locally on a budget.


Hit up an attraction

From museums and aquariums to theme parks and art galleries, lucky for you there are probably more attractions nearby than you expect. Check around for discounts or cheaper-priced tickets, like student discounts or discounted family admission packages—it can help keep your costs down without sacrificing quality time.

Dine in style (without going broke)

Make sure to do some research on dining options where you’re visiting—there’s usually a big range of options from street food trucks and local hot spots, which can be delicious yet wallet-friendly!

Take advantage of free activities

Obviously, no one likes spending money if they don’t have to. But fortunately, depending where you live, there are plenty of free activities you can choose from—exploring a botanical garden, watching street performers in an outdoor market or taking advantage of free walking tours are all great ways to experience a new place without breaking the bank.

Staycationing is all about having fun close to home and making memories with friends and family while keeping tabs on your wallet. So get out there and explore what your city has to offer!

What are some great vacation ideas?

If you’re looking for some great staycation ideas, the world is your oyster. Whether it’s a weekend road trip, a visit to a nearby city, or checking out your own backyard, you can make the most of your vacation without breaking the bank.

Road trip

Sometimes the best way to experience something new is to hit the road. Whether you head out for a day or an entire weekend, you can see some amazing sights and have a ton of fun without spending too much money. Plus, you can take your time and enjoy the journey — not just the destination!

Historical sites

Who says you have to visit far-flung places to experience something new? Even in your own hometown, there are probably historical sites that are worth visiting — not to mention all of the interesting people who live in our cities and towns.

Camping and hiking

Want to connect with nature? There are plenty of great camping and hiking spots close by — just make sure to check out local regulations before setting off on your adventure! With the right gear and supplies, there’s nothing like enjoying some peace and quiet in nature with friends or family.

Don’t let a tight budget stop you from taking an amazing vacation — there are plenty of staycation ideas that will help you make memories without breaking the bank.

How do I plan an affordable staycation?

You’re probably wondering how to plan an affordable staycation. It’s easier than you think! With a bit of research and planning, you can have an unforgettable vacation at a fraction of the cost of going away. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Rent a cottage or cabin

One great way to a staycation is to rent a cottage or cabin in your area. Not only is this often cheaper than staying in a hotel, but it also offers more privacy and luxury for the same price. Plus, many cottages offer amenities like hot tubs and outdoor spaces, so there’s plenty of entertainment without leaving your home away from home.

Go glamping

Glamping—or glamorous camping—is another great way to experience travel on a budget. Many glamping sites offer unique experiences like treehouses and rustic cabins with all the comforts of home. Plus, being immersed in nature can be therapeutic and calming, so it’s worth considering if you’re looking for something different.

Look for deals online

Last but not least, make sure to take some time to research deals online before booking your staycation. You might find discounts or even “staycation packages” on local hotels, resorts or rental sites that could help you save money on your trip!

What are the 10 steps in planning a vacation?


Ready to plan your staycation? Here’s your step-by-step guide to make sure you have the best possible experience:

  1. Set Your Budget: Start by figuring out how much you can afford to spend on this vacation. Include costs for accommodations, meals, transportation, and activities.
  2. Choose a Destination: Local or regional travel is best for a staycation. Look at what attractions are within a short drive so you don’t have to spend too much on transportation and accommodations.
  3. Book Your Accommodations: Once you’ve chosen your destination, book your hotel or rental if needed. Don’t forget to factor any discounts into the cost of your staycation, such as deals from travel sites or loyalty programs.
  4. Research Activities: Figure out what activities the area has that fit within the budget you set previously (hiking, museums, historical sites, etc.). The more planning you do ahead of time, the less stress you will have on your vacation.
  5. Make Reservations or Buy Tickets: If necessary for the activities and attractions you want to visit, pre-buy tickets or make reservations in advance so there’s no chance that they’ll sell out when you arrive.
  6. Plan Your Meals: Determine where you can get meals at a reasonable price or figure out ways to save money by eating in (such as with meals from home).
  7. Pack Appropriately: Don’t forget all of those essentials that are important for any trip – medication, sunscreen, bug spray, and rain gear; plus vacation-specific items like bathing suits, hiking boots – whatever it is that will help make sure your trip


Locally vacationing on a budget can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Don’t let expenses keep you from traveling to your dream destination. Look up staycation ideas in your local area, and turn them into reality by getting creative and finding the best deals.

With a little time and effort, you can staycation close to home, save money and have a great time without breaking the bank. So go explore your city, find the hidden gems and experience the joy of vacationing without leaving your hometown. Who knows, you might just discover something new, fall in love with it, and make it your go-to staycation destination!

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