There are several ways to save money on travel. But, if you’re trying to reach financial goals like paying off debt or saving money for a future purchase, traveling may not be in the cards for you right now.
However, spring break can be a good time to get away. My son has a 2-week spring break and he tends to get restless and bored if we stay at home during this time. If you don’t want to spend money on a vacation but still want to get out and explore, consider having a staycation.
A staycation is basically a vacation spent in your home town. You literally behave like you’re on vacation, and you may even take some day trips and explore your area. However, you save money because you don’t have to travel and spend money on a hotel.
If you’re looking to avoid common travel expenses, here are some of my best tips for having a frugal spring break staycation.
Let Your Family In On the Plan
If you’re going to do a staycation, it’s important to let everyone in your household know so you can all be on the same page. Explain how a staycation works and set your own rules with each other.
How will you manage to get into full ‘vacation mode’ even though you’re not leaving town? You may want to have everyone deep clean the home and get caught up on laundry so there will be very few chores to do during your staycation.
You can even prep some meals ahead of time and freeze them so you can give yourself a break from cooking.
Brainstorm some ideas together regarding what you’ll do during your staycation and how long it will last. I once did a staycation for about a week during my son’s spring break. We planned to do things like visit a popular indoor waterpark and explore some places in Chicago. I also added some personal items to my itinerary which included visiting a spa and meeting up with an old friend for lunch.
Make a List of All the Free Attractions In the Area
There are likely quite a few free attractions in your area that you can take advantage of during your staycation. If you have kids, consider checking out any nearby free zoos or museums. Consider visiting national parks, nearby beaches, and historical attractions.
If you’ve never been there before, that’s even better. You can also plan your staycation around a free local festival or event so you can have something fun to do.
If you are within an hour drive to your nearest city, check out all the free attractions that are offered so you can plan a day trip.
Play Tourist In Your Area
Think of some places you’ve always wanted to go but never had the availability to visit. Do some research and create a budget to see how much you’re willing to spend. Then add some nearby places, attractions, and activities to your staycation bucket list.
Don’t completely write off things that you believe will be too expensive. Also, take the time to explore your backyard since there are likely a few places you’ve never been.
I’ve lived in the Chicagoland area my entire life, but I’ve never been to several places in the city of Chicago including the Sky Ledge at the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). This 110-story skyscraper is the second largest building in the United States.
It’s right in my backyard, and I’ve never even been to the top of the building. I used to think it would be expensive to tour the Willis Tower and go all the way to the top.
However, after doing some research I learned that general admission tickets to view the sky ledge start at only $25 for adults. So, make a list of all the cool budget-friendly things you can do during your staycation.
Also, check to see if you can save money on activities with coupons or a tourist past. Most larger cities have tourist passes that allow you to save on fun activities and experiences. You can usually purchase the pass for one flat fee, then you have a certain time frame to take advantage of all the discounts you get on the offers.
Pack and Prep Food
If you’re headed out for a day of fun and exploring, be sure to pack some snacks for at least one of your meals. This is a rule I like to follow when I travel as well. I like dining out when I’m on vacation, but I don’t feel like it’s necessary unless I’m on a cruise or at an all-inclusive resort where my food has been included in the price of the trip.
Even if you’re a foodie, you can still buy a few meals when you’re out, but also pack snacks and lunches so you don’t incur extra costs. You can easily pack some snacks and sandwiches for lunch when you’re planning a beach day or a zoo outing.
If you’re taking your kids to a carnival, eat well at home before you go. Then, limit the kids to one snack or dessert item from the vendors.
Schedule a Road Trip
Are there any day trips that you can take during your staycation? Maybe there’s a national landmark you really want to see or a museum that offers free admission to state residents. If the destination is only 2-3 hours away, consider making it a day trip.
Collect spare change around the house to fill your gas tank, pack some food, and get out on the open road. You can even bring camping equipment if you do plan to stay overnight and reserve a spot at a campground.
Have a Movie Marathon
If you never have time to just relax at home and binge watch movies, dedicate a day of your staycation to doing this with the family. It’s super relaxing and a free way to bond together.
My son loves watching movies together, and I love checking out new films with him and showing him movies that I enjoyed as a child. Rent some movies from the library or see what’s on Netflix or Hulu. Make popcorn, bake cookies, and have a fun movie marathon in the living from morning to night.
Ultimately, if you plan for it, you can have a frugal spring break staycation that is fun, relaxing, and memorable.
Have you ever had a staycation? What are your favorite ways to have a frugal spring break vacation?