We all know the benefits of taking time off work to relax and recharge ourselves. But not all of us have the time or funds to take a big fancy vacation.
Nearly 75% of Americans have gone into debt to pay for a vacation according to a recent survey by LearnVest. This is because many Americans forget to factor vacation expenses into their annual budgets.
While I’ve shared lots of ways to save money and travel on a budget here on Mint Notion, you don’t have to visit an exotic destination in order to have a nice vacation. Consider taking a staycation instead.
You don’t have to worry about delayed flights or dealing with jetlag. Plus, some of my favorite staycation ideas cost no money at all, which is great for those on a tight budget. Try one or a few of these ideas to have best spring break ever!
- 8 rules I follow to help me stick to my budget every month
- 10 fast ways to save money without even trying
- How to stop spending money you don’t have
Camping is one of my favorite staycation ideas because it’s affordable, it’s a great way to unplug, and it’s a fun way to connect with your loved ones.
If you don’t live close to a campsite, you can even go camping in your backyard. In the warmer months, I used to do backyard camping with my friends. We had a lot of fun and it was easy to set up the tent ourselves. I love how this tent sets up in just 60 seconds.
2. Movie night at home
Going to the movie theatres can be expensive. If you’re trying to save money, why not enjoy a movie night at home? You can pick a theme, such as Night at the Oscars or have a Harry Potter marathon. The possibilities are endless!
My boyfriend and I LOVE watching movies. We take turns picking out movies to watch and it’s fun to check out new and old flicks. We make a big bowl of popcorn to snack on while watching the movie with a glass of wine.
Making homemade popcorn is easy and it tastes a thousand times better than microwave popcorn. You can use a big pot or invest is a popcorn machine.
3. Be a tourist in your city
One of my favorite things to do is be a tourist in my own city for the day. I live in a large city and I’m always discovering new neighborhoods and places of interest to check out.
You can visit local museums, historical spots, nature parks, public art displays, art galleries, gardens, and more. Some cities offer admission discounts to local residents.
If you live in a big city, you may be able to take advantage of a travel pass. CityPASS and Go City offers travel passes to save on admission to popular attractions. I’ve used these travel passes in multiple cities and find them to be a good value. Click on the links to see if your city offers a travel pass.
4. Boardgame night
If board games make you think of a long and tiring game of Monopoly, think again! There are so many great board games available today that are perfect for couples, friends and families.
Not interested in board games? No problem! Pick a game that you enjoy, such as cards or video games.
5. Puzzle day
Did you know that doing jigsaw puzzles can improve your short-term memory? It’s also a great way to relieve stress after a long day.
Pull out the jigsaw puzzles and grab some tasty snacks to enjoy. I personally like to do puzzles at the kitchen table because it provides a nice big space to lay out all the pieces.
Need to take a break from putting together the puzzle? Use this handy puzzle storage roll up mat to keep all the pieces in one place. Then simply unroll the mat when you’re ready to tackle the jigsaw puzzle again.
6. Airbnb rental
If you’re looking to get away for a night or two, but don’t want to stay in a hotel, consider booking through Airbnb. This can be a great idea for a budget-friendly staycation.
I have been using Airbnb for the past few years throughout Canada, the USA, and Europe. I love it because you can stay in unique homes and feel like a local when traveling to a new destination.
Airbnb can be more affordable than staying in a hotel and I love that you can rent out an entire home.
7. Try Hello Fresh for the week
I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do on vacation is to worry about what to make for dinner. That’s why I like to use a meal kit delivery service for the week, such as Hello Fresh.
I’ve used Hello Fresh in the past and love how easy it is to put together a delicious and healthy meal. To get started, all you have to do is pick your plan (quick meals, family meals, or vegetarian meals). You can also select the number of people in your household (2-4 people).
Then you’ll get fresh ingredients delivered straight to your door for the week. Your Hello Fresh box includes simple step-by-step recipes complete with nutritional information and fresh, pre-measured ingredients to help you put together a delicious meal in no time.
8. Paint night
I recently went to my first paint night and had a blast. I haven’t painted anything in years, so it was nice to go out with friends and learn some new painting techniques. Plus, it can be a great way to socialize.
9. Picnic in the park
There’s something so inviting about laying down a blanket and unpacking a basket full of delicious goodies. You don’t have worry about creating the perfect spread of food, even some simple sandwiches or your favorite take-out will be tasty.
If the weather isn’t favorable, bring the picnic indoors. You can create a theme to make it fun, such as Mexican food or party appetizers.
10. Have an at-home spa day
Skip the expensive spas and relax with an at-home spa day. First, you’ll want to set the mood with calming music and nice lighting. Put on a diffuser or light a candle to create a relaxing atmosphere.
Then you can give yourself a facial, a foot soak, a hand mask, a hair treatment, or take an aromatherapy bubble bath. I also like the finish the spa day by giving myself a manicure or pedicure and reading a good book.
11. Visit a winery or have a wine tasting at home
If you live near a winery, consider going on a tour. Sometimes you can find deals on local wine tours which can be a fun option for a day trip.
Don’t live near a winery? No problem! Grab your friends and host your own wine tasting at home. To save money, ask everyone to bring over their favorite bottle of wine. You can supply snacks for your guests, such as fruit, cheese, olives or pretzels.
PRO TIP: I highly recommend using a wine aerator. We used one on a trip to Portugal and couldn’t believe how this little device could make wine taste better. It’s a good way to make a cheap bottle of wine taste more expense.
12. Catch up on some much-needed sleep
A staycation is the perfect time to catch up on sleep. Relax before bed with a hot bath or a good book. Turn off all electronics and sip on a cup of herbal tea. You may also want to use some essential oils to help you sleep, if needed.
13. Stay in a luxury hotel on a budget
If you want to get away for the night without having to go too far from home, consider booking a luxury hotel in your city or a nearby town.
I like starting my hotel search on Hotwire to check prices for 4 and 5 star hotels. You can save up to 50% off the regular rate, which can make staying in a fancy hotel a little more affordable.
14. Beach day
If the weather is nice, why not head to the beach for the day? Even if the water is not warm enough to swim, it’s still fun to catch some sun. Here are some of my favorite activities to do at the beach:
- Have a treasure hunt
- Play beach volleyball
- Relax and read a book
- Fly a kite
- Practice yoga or meditation
- Play boardgames
- Have a BBQ or picnic
15. Craft night
If painting isn’t your cup of tea, why not have a craft night instead! Keep the craft ideas simple to make sure everyone can have a fun time. Here are a few ideas to get you brainstorming:
- Bath bombs
- Exfoliating scrub
- Christmas ornaments
- Paper lanterns
- Mason jar crafts
16. Attend a sports game
If you’re looking for something fun to do with family or friends, consider checking out a sports game. Cheer on your team at a local sports bar or get tickets to attend the game.
If you’re on a budget, check for free sports games you can watch in your city. Pack your favorite snacks to give you the fuel you need to root for your favorite team.
17. Free events in your city
You can usually find free events happening all year round in the city, especially during the warmer months. Whether it’s a light festival, farmer’s market, food festival, art show, or music festival, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Check to see what events are happening in your neighborhood or nearby cities. This could make for a fun day trip.
18. Do a food tour of your city
While you can certainly sign up for a professionally organized food tour, a more budget-friendly option is to put together your own itinerary.
Pick at least three spots you want to visit in your city. This can be as simple as checking out different dessert spots in your city or sampling different taco joints. Decide which theme you’d like to do and make it fun.
19. Listen to live music in your city
I recently went to Nashville with my sister and we had so much fun checking out the local Honky Tonks. Most cities have places where you can listen to live music, such as a concert venue, festival, restaurant or local bar. Check to see who’s playing in your neighborhood.
20. Visit your local library
Did you know that the library offers more than just free books? You can also borrow DVDS, magazines, CDs, and audiobooks. Some libraries offer free classes, workshops, and events for all ages. Check your local library to see what’s happening near you.
21. Explore a local state or national park
My boyfriend and I love hiking. We enjoy visiting nearby state parks to unplug for the day and connect with nature. Spending time outdoors can brighten your mood and make you feel refreshed.
Check to see if there are any nice hiking trails or nature parks near you.
22. Day trips from your city
If you’re feeling antsy to get out of town, consider taking a day trip somewhere. This can be a fun way to explore a nearby town without having to worry about booking an overnight stay.
My boyfriend and I love going on day trips during the warmer months. Even if it’s just to an unfamiliar suburb in our city, we’re always discovering new places to explore. Don’t forget to make an epic playlist for your road trip!
23. Bring the vacation destination to your home
If you’re unable to travel, why not bring elements of your favorite destination to your home? Here are some ideas to help give you some inspiration:
Paris theme – Drink French wine, watch your favorite French-inspired film, eat cheese and baguettes, and have chocolate eclairs or macarons for dessert.
Hawaiian theme – Have Hawaiian pizza (if you don’t feel like cooking), drink fruity cocktails, wear Hawaiian leis, and learn how to hula dance.
Italy theme – Serve your favorite pasta, drink Italian wine or Aperol spritz, eat tiramisu for dessert, and watch your favorite movie set in Italy. I like Under the Tuscan Sun.
Disney theme – Pick your favorite Disney movie to set your theme. You can send out Disney invitations, have Disney decorations, Disney inspired food and dessert. You can even listen to Disney music or play a game.
It feels good to volunteer and give back to the community. Choose a volunteer position that is meaningful to you. Some places to volunteer include animal rescue centers, food pantries, local libraries, national parks, retirement homes, and the YMCA.
25. Finish a house project
While you don’t want to use your whole staycation to catch up on chores, you may want to take this opportunity to complete a house project. Some ideas include:
- Rearrange furniture in a room to give it a new look.
- Declutter your closet
- Declutter and organize a room
- Plant a flower or herb garden
- Paint your kitchen cabinets
26. Rent a bike in your city
Riding a bike is so much fun because it’s environmentally friendly and a cost-effective way to get around town. If you don’t have a bike, consider renting one for the day.
You can ride your bike in the city, by the lake or ocean, through the park or on a hiking trail. Check online to see the best places to ride a bike near you.
27. Make extra money
If you’re looking for something different to do on your staycation, consider challenging yourself to make some extra money. Bringing home extra money can help you boost your savings, pay off debt, or save up for your next vacation.
What would you do with an extra $100-$500?
Here are a few of my favorite ways to make extra money on the side:
Companies like to conduct market research to gain feedback from consumers about their products or services. And they’re always looking for new survey participants. The best part is, companies are willing to pay to get your opinion.
If you’re looking for a free and easy way to make money while sitting at home in your pjs, signing up for online surveys can be a great option. I recommend joining several survey websites to help you earn the most money. They are free to join so you have nothing to lose.
Start out with Survey Junkie. This is one of the best paid survey websites available in the United States and Canada. They currently have a TrustScore rating of 8.7/10 on Trust Pilot, which makes them one of the highest rated survey sites.
How to get started with Survey Junkie:
- Take Surveys: Sign up here to create your free account. This process takes only a few minutes to complete. Then you’ll be matched with surveys.
- Earn Rewards: Complete surveys and you’ll earn virtual points.
- Get Paid: You can redeem virtual points for PayPal cash payments or e-gift cards.
Have a garage sale
We all have items that we need to declutter. Having a garage sale can be a great way to give these items a new home while making some extra money.
Start a blog
Blogging is my favorite way to make money online because:
- The start-up costs are low
- You can blog in your spare time
- No tech knowledge required
Blogging can be a simple side hustle, or it can turn into a full-time job (like it did for me). It’s up to you!
If you’re interested in starting your own blog, check out my free step-by-step guide. It’ll show you how to easily get started. It takes just a few minutes to get your blog up and running. Anyone can do it!
I didn’t know anything about blogs when I first started this website. I learned everything from scratch. Now I love connecting with people all over the world. It’s pretty amazing how special blogging can be.
Need some inspiration? You can sign up for my free blogging course here. It’ll walk you through the entire process of how to set up and launch your blog in just 5 days.
Blue Host is offering a great deal right now for getting your blog up and running. They make it quick and easy to get started. It’s the web hosting company I used to start this blog, which is why I like recommending them. No tech knowledge required!
Save over 60% off the price of your blog with this special offer (expiring soon)!
Flip items for profit
Flipping is the art of finding things for free (or at a discount) and selling them for a profit. With today’s technology, there has never been an easier time to resell and flip items to make extra money.
Rob and Melissa, the masterminds behind FleamarketFlipping.com, they make a full-time income from flipping stuff for profit. In their first year full-time, they made $133,000 in sales!
I recommend checking out Rob’s FREE 75-minute workshop. You’ll learn how to find hidden treasures at flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales, and auctions, and how to turn them into maximum profit. His workshop is completely free to join. You can sign up here.
Start a side hustle
According to a recent survey, around 37% of adults in the USA have a side hustle, earning an average of $700 a month. That’s a decent amount of extra money, which can help you boost your travel fund. Here’s a few of my favorite side hustle ideas:
- Pinterest virtual assistant
- Freelance writer
- Virtual assistant
- Stella & Dot stylist
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling on Amazon
- Flea market flipping
How to budget for your staycation
1. Determine how much you can afford to spend for your staycation.
2. Check prices for the activities you’re interested in doing.
3. Add up the total cost for these activities. Don’t forget to include transportation costs, if necessary.
4. If the total is more than you can afford to spend, take a second look at the list of activities on your itinerary. Research ways to save money on these activities (discounts, coupons, or deals). You may also want to consider looking for similar activities that are cheaper.
5. Stick to your budget!
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