With our country’s current economic state leaving many people out of work and scrimping and saving just to pay bills, a vacation is a luxury that many cannot afford to take. Rising gas prices and the increased cost of airfare have left many people opting for a staycation instead. A staycation is basically a vacation at home. Although a far cry from a “real” vacation, a staycation can help you explore new and fun things to do around your hometown.

The premise of a staycation is the same as a vacation. The goal is to focus on enjoying yourselves and spending some “me time” or “family time,” depending on your situation. Depending on where you live, you may be able to do the same activities as you would on a real vacation. For example, you may want to think about visiting a lake, a park or a museum. You may even want to eat dinner at that new restaurant you haven’t tried yet. The goal is to try to create new experiences. Look for events in your area that are free or low-cost.

A staycation has many benefits. It is less stressful, first of all. There is no traffic or planes to catch. You also have time by not having to book a hotel, rent a car or spend hours packing suitcases. Most importantly, a staycation should be saving you money. An average vacation can set you back $1,000 or more. Your staycation shouldn’t be costing any more than a couple hundred dollars.

Of course, being at home on a staycation may tempt you to do work. There are always dishes to wash and laundry to fold. Do everything before your staycation. Don’t even pay bills or check e-mail. Don’t even answer the phone. You will get sucked back in to your personal life and your staycation will get derailed.

A staycation, like any other vacation, does take some planning. Decide how many days you will take off. Develop a plan or list of activities to do during your staycation. You’ll need to conduct some research to see what is going on in your area. Look online or buy a newspaper to find a calendar of events. Be sure to create a budget as well. You don’t want to be too stingy, but you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars and throw money around either. Remember, the whole point of a staycation is to save money.

You determine the activities for your staycation that best suit you. Some people may choose to spend their staycation relaxing at home and not leaving the house at all. Maybe there’s a new movie you haven’t seen yet, or that book that is collecting dust on your coffee table. A staycation allows you to get away from the grind and catch up on relaxation.