Amid shrinking paychecks and rising debts among the middle class, more and more people are looking for ways to cut their spending. For many families, that starts with what may be the only highlight of their year: the annual family vacation.
Other people may simply be trying to save money for their life goals. For example, while most people get married in their late 20s, they don’t always have a budget that allows for major vacations around that time. Since weddings are expensive enough on their own and they may be concerned about conserving money, having a fun honeymoon at home instead of traveling off to a costly destination can be appealing.
Fortunately, you don’t have to travel to enjoy a fun family vacation. Whatever your motives are for saving money and having a bash at home, keep reading for our top suggestions on ways to enjoy your “staycation.”
Have a Family Movie Night
Visiting the movie theater is always a fun experience, but a shut-in family movie night at home can be just as enjoyable, and a lot more relaxing. Whether you stream the latest movie to come to Netflix or borrow a classic favorite from the local library, all you need is some snacks, a cozy couch, and maybe some blankets, and you’re all set for a fun movie night at home.
Visit Local Events or Small Businesses
When you live somewhere all the time, it’s easy to take it for granted and assume there’s nothing cool there that you haven’t already seen. But there are probably restaurants, shops, and even museums in your area that would make for an interesting outing.
Since 96% of all organizations have utilized cloud technology in some way or another, even the smallest businesses in your local area probably have listings on Google, which make it easy to find a new place to visit.
Visit the Beach or Pool
You don’t have to travel to the seaside to enjoy the water. The majority of Americans live near a large body of water that’s open for swimming in — if you’re one of the outliers who aren’t anywhere near a coastline or local lake, you can at least find a local pool that’s open to the public. And if there are simply no options for swimming in your local area, be creative: get a water hose and a sprinkler, or buy an inflatable pool. Water is fun. You’ll enjoy it.
Try Cooking Some New Recipes
If you’re into cooking or you’ve ever wanted to try, experimenting with new recipes is the perfect way to enjoy a long weekend at home. There’s a wealth of recipes you can find for free online, complete with reviews from other home cooks to help you gauge how each one would turn out. Pasta and casserole-style dishes are easy and accessible, even for beginners, and it’s easy to get the entire family involved in preparing them.
Another idea you could try is getting technical about cooking by investigating the subtle properties of different ingredients. For example, did you know that pH is a measure of a given oil’s acidic level? Most oils have a pH level of around 8.0, which will decrease towards 5.0 as it oxidizes. There are similar facts at work all around us amid the seemingly mundane. Seeking them out through research can be a fun project for your staycation.
Host a Potluck or Barbecue
If it’s been a while since you’ve socialized any, why not host a get-together? You can invite some of the extended family over, or throw a block party. Search the web for handy party planning guides and browse the local supermarket’s website for deals on fun party foods. Don’t forget to download some music for the occasion in advance!
Read a Book
Be honest, when was the last time you sat down to read a book? A novel, specifically? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been a while. Why not reconnect with your inner child with a fun adventure novel, or relax with a top-rated romance? You can make a special occasion out of it by visiting a local coffee shop and splurging on a nice mocha while you read.
Go on a Hike
This is an activity that’s equally fun whether you’re alone or with friends. It’s also excellent exercise, and gives you a chance to connect with nature in your area. If you like, you could even pack a picnic lunch to bring along. Just don’t forget to bring plenty of water.
Spend Some Quality Time with the Kids
Even more than the places they’ve been, and far more than the things they own, people remember the fun times they’ve enjoyed with others. Chances are it’s been a while since you spent a few hours indulging in some quality, uninterrupted family time. Whether you connect best over playing board games or discussing a topic of shared interest, try hanging out with the kids for one day. You’ll be glad that you did.
Even if your primary aim is to save money, you can visit a local mall or shopping center without going broke. Spend a day looking around, just seeing what’s new. If anyone in the family has been legitimately needing new clothes for a while, go ahead and get that done during a fun day out. Enjoy some cheap food in the food court or a nearby local restaurant. And maybe wrap up the day with the latest family movie that’s been released. There’s a lot of fun to be had around your hometown, and even your home itself, if you’re willing to look for it.
Whether you go for a movie night at home or at the theater, visit a local museum or spend a day in quiet reading, there are lots of things to enjoy on a money-saving staycation. And if you can get family members or friends involved, that means even more fun to go around.