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Awesome Staycation Ideas That Save Money

July 16, 2013
4 mins
An older man and woman carry backpacks and walk outdoors

There's no doubt about it - getting away for summer vacation can be pricey. If the cost of a cottage rental is still a bit steep, or through-the-roof airfare prices are keeping you grounded this summer, why not consider a staycation? After all, it's a great way to save money and discover beautiful and exciting local features.

Whether you're plotting a solo a staycation, as a couple, or a family outing with kids, here are some awesome staycation ideas for making the most of your time in town.

Budget On A Daily Basis

While you're not taking a flight or splurging on hotel rooms, running around doing day trips can still add up. Figure out how much you're willing to spend on food, transportation and admission costs and stick to it. To keep expenses from getting out of control, be sure to eat a good breakfast before leaving the house and pack things like water and a few healthy snacks to get the day started. Meanwhile, certain outings are best done with a picnic (let's face it, certain amusement parks at the like have terrible and really overpriced food). Hit the grocery store for prepared salads, sandwiches and snacks so your picnic doesn't require too much work.

Go Thematic

Map out your outings based on themes. Grab your towels to hit a local beach and end the day with takeout burgers. Have a cultural outing day by visiting museums and art galleries and eating in coffee shops. If you love food, take in a highly rated restaurant for lunch and spend the rest of the day at gourmet shops buying fancy stuff for dinner.

Take public transit

If you left town for vacation, chances are you wouldn't have your car with you - so leave it at home on your staycation as well and take transit when you can. It takes away a stressor and allows you to explore parts of your area you might not normally see. You might even save money. Opt for family or day passes if it makes sense cost-wise. Savings Tip: If you must absolutely bring the wheels while out on the town, consider using a gas rewards or cash back credit card to help cut your fuel costs. A great option right now is the Smart Cash® MasterCard® Credit Card. Not only will you get up to 5% cash back on your gas and grocery purchases, but you'll score a FREE $100 gift card from when approved for a limited time!

Mix It Up

Be sure to visit a site in your area you've long been putting off. Even if you're just going out to a matinee, go to a movie theatre you don't normally visit. The same goes for restaurants and even routes; do the small things differently and you'll feel like you're away.

Schedule Smart

Popular destinations like museums, amusement parks and water parks are busier on weekends. If you're taking a full week off, do those kinds of outings during the week and save things like nature walks or lazy days where you sit around the backyard and chill for the weekend.

Leave the Gizmos At Home

Adults, teens and young ones need to pry themselves off their electronics and, ideally, leave them behind. While at least one smartphone is smart to have on hand for research and navigation, the carrier has to promise to avoid checking it throughout the day. Pretend you are truly on vacation and leave work and other "pressing" messages and concerns behind.

Go Some Distance

While it's great to stick close to home, consider what fun there is an hour or so's drive from home. Beaches, parks and more that you don't even know about are probably closer to home than you think. Get out the map!

Don't Over Plan

They say life happens while we're busy making plans, which is why it's important to be flexible. The weather can change. Everyone might decide they want to have a downtime day. A neighbour with a pool could suddenly invite you all over. So book in advance what you need to but otherwise keep your plans flexible.

Low expectations combined with low costs tend to make for the best staycations. Plan one now and stick around to have fun with limited resources.    

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