If finances are tight, and you need to use up some vacation time, then why not try a staycation? This is simply a "stay at home vacation".
Before you roll you eyes and think "boring". There are lots of things you can do around your area and enjoy your vacation time off. Little things that can add to a stress free and carefree vacation that leaves you feeling relaxed and rested.
Vaction Budget - Start by looking at your budget and see how much cash you can afford for your time off. Look at the things you would normally buy on the way to work, such as coffees, muffins, lunch or more. Look at how much you would spend on gas if you commute quite far. Anything you would normally have to spend on to go to work for that week or 2 week period.
Check your change jar, and see if you can roll up some coins for some extra cash. Once you have figured out how much you have to spend, you can start coming up with some fun things to do by yourself or with your family.
Plan ahead of Time - If you know you will be taking off a week next week or beyond, then start looking around your own area to see what is going on in the way of free shows, park events etc. Many of us commute to work and by the time we get back, we don't have the time to really see what is going on around us, other than driving kids to practice etc.
Check out Some Local Trails - Pack a lunch and some drinks and carry a knapsack,
Splurge a little on some treats for your picnic, that you would not normally buy. Simply spending time outdoors can be refreshing and good exercise.
Depending on the time of the year you are having your staycation, you can find events that are quite often free or very little cost.
Plan a Few Days But Not All Of Them - Plan some things to do for a few of the days, and then leave other days open. Sleep in (impossible with little kids, but you can hang out in your jammies for a while) have a easy going breakfast. Then leave the day open and decide whether you just want to hang out at home and watch movies, or whether you want to venture out again.
Some Vacations end up being to jammed packed and you are not rested at the end. Leave some "me" time if you can. If you are parents with young children, then why not take a day each for some "me" time. One parent holds the fort while the other heads out for a day with friends or on their own.
Library - The library is a great place to spend some of your staycation time. You may not have been in there much if you are working full time, but check it out now. You will be surprised to find that many local libraries offer free events, programs and free internet as well as movies to borrow for free or very low cost.
Camp in the Backyard - If you have kids, this can be fun. Setup everything in the yard, and then barbeque burgers or hotdogs, and sleep out in the tent for a night.
If your know your budget is tight, or maybe you are saving for something big or another larger vacation, you don't have to approach a staycation with dread. Just simply having a few things planned, by searching the internet and coming up with a few things to do in your area that don't require a lot of driving, will give you something to look forward to.
Instead of dwelling on the fact you are staying at home for this vacation, look at it as a chance to unwind, relax and check out local flavours! Work out how much you can afford to spend or tradeoffs from spending for work, and have a pizza, or some treats and get rid of the schedule for the week, and you will have a good time.
Many people work and commute away from their own community, and don't often get a chance to really check it out. A staycation or stay at home vacation is a great way to do this. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find to do in your own backyard!
Hobbies - This can also be a good time to work on your hobbies without any stress or time restraints. Check out a local art gallery or craft show, or research local areas for supplies for your hobbies. While at home one day I discovered a great art supply store right in my own town that had opened and I had somehow missed until I was off work.
Community Fun Things to Do - Such as swimming, skating, toboggoning and more. If you have the funds for at least one larger event you can check out a theme park and find some family day passes are cheaper on week days.
Get Caught Up on Your Reading - That book you have been meaning to read at the side of your bed, can now be read without falling asleep! If it is a rainy day, pamper yourself with a good book, a comfy place to sit and your favourite beverage and simply relax.
If you have a family, make sure EVERYONE helps with daily chores in the house, it should not be all on one person to keep things running smoothly, it is everyone's vacation time.
At Home Spa - Take this time to pamper yourself, with a good long soak, manicures, pedicures or simply relaxing with a drink and watching your favourite shows.
You have to do a little bit of research and planning to enjoy your staycation, but you can have a great time if you wrap your head around the idea of staying at home for vacation time. Include some treats you can afford and have fun.