Frugal Staycation and Daytrip Ideas
With any vacation, it’s not so much the state you’re in as it is the state of mind that you’re in that makes a difference. Even if you’re short on cash this summer, you can create the feeling that you’ve gotten away without venturing too far (or spending too much). Turn off your cell phones, computers and let the answering machine pick up. Break from routine, relax, and have a little fun! Here are some inexpensive ideas:
Host a Party-cation
You don’t even have to leave your home to host a party based on a popular travel destination (Mexican fiesta, Hawaiian luau, Texas BBQ). Ask guests to dress appropriately and bring a potluck dish that goes along with your theme. Don’t forget things that add to the atmosphere: a tropical room spray, music from that region, and posters/art to hang on the walls. Check your local library for travel videos and CDs to add to the vacation vibe. (View one of our favorite party themes: Redneck Party Ideas)
Pamper Yourself for Pennies
Create your own spa right at home complete with facials, manicures, pedicures, and massages. A homemade body scrub can be made from sugar and olive oil. Little girls love getting their hair done and nails painted – look for new colors at your local Dollar Store. If you want to splurge, get everyone a new white fluffy towel for the occasion. (More ideas: At-Home Spa Treatments)
Hold a garage sale. Put your ad in the paper a week ahead of time and start gathering household items you no longer need. Invite neighbors to participate to add to the fun – as well as the foot traffic. Close your doors by noon on Saturday, and you have the rest of the weekend to relax and have fun with your earnings! Plus, you’re de-cluttering your house in the process.
Create Your Own Theme Park Staycation
Fill up the backyard pool, get out the Slip N Slide, and turn on the sprinkler and you’ve got your very own water park. Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and a station to tie-dye shirts add to the fun. A midway with games is a must. Try a water balloon toss, drop the clothespins in the jar, or potato sack races. Look for prizes at the Dollar Store. Don’t forget concessions such as hot dogs, chips, pop, and lemonade.
Letterboxing is a fun, frugal hobby that could be described as a modern day treasure hunt. All you need to get started a small notebook, a pen, an ink pad, and a rubber stamp of your choice. Using clues found on the letterboxing website, you track down a “letterbox” (a box hidden with the same items).
Once you find the letterbox, use the stamp in the letterbox to stamp a page in your notebook. Use your pen to write down the date and location where the letterbox was found. Use your own stamp to stamp a page in the other notebook, write down the date and a short message to the letterbox owner. Leave the letterbox hidden in its original location for the next person to find.
Pitch a tent in your own backyard for some close-to-home adventure. If you have a fire pit, make sure you have graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows to make s’mores. If it rains, you can run for cover quickly – plus there are no grounds fees. If you’re looking for outdoor gear for less, check out thrift stores, Craigslist.org, garage sales and resale shops like Play it Again Sports.
Hotels on the Cheap
Look for a hotel bargain in a nearby city. Priceline.com and Hotwire.com are great sources for hotel bargains – sometimes as low as $40 per night. Visit a forum such as betterbidding.com to get the inside scoop on recently successful bids so you don’t overpay. A sense of adventure is required, since you don’t know which exact hotel you’ll get. Challenge yourself to see how much you can do within the parameters of a rock-bottom budget.
Organize a Block Party
Gather neighbors together for a potluck dinner or block party. It’s an inexpensive way to invest in your immediate community and have some frugal fun at the same time. Assign different categories of food to certain families: appetizers, salads, main dishes, and desserts so that you don’t get too much of one thing.
Invest in an Object of Relaxation
Use your vacation budget to buy something the whole family can use to relax at home with: a patio set, a hammock, a lawn game, or even a blender to make tropical drinks. No matter what your budget may be, there’s sure to be something you can afford. Plus, you’ll have it for years to come.
Most communities offer free or inexpensive concerts and festivals year-round. Look in the community section of your newspaper to choose an event that appeals to you or search online using keywords like “your town + free summer events.” There are even more options for those willing to venture outside of their own community. Festivals.com is a great website that allows you to search by keyword, category or by state: http://www.festivals.com/
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