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10 Cheap Staycation Ideas for the Frugal Traveler

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Everyone knows that taking the time to relax and recharge is important for your mental health and overall well being.

It’s also pretty standard to want to go on a vacation to do just that, but there isn’t always a guarantee that you’ll be able to travel for cheap or take the time off.

Between managing your personal life, time and your financial responsibilities, it may become almost impossible to head to an airport during the year and leave town for a week.

Because of the inability for many individuals to take time off and fly away on a jet plane to the nearest tropical island, there has been an increase in staycations.

A staycation is a vacation that you take near to where you already live.

It may involve a minimal amount of travel, but usually that travel is within driving distance to a nearby destination and usually doesn’t require overnight accommodations.

Staycations are fun, easy to plan, and usually a lot cheaper than taking an involved vacation in a different region other than your home turf.

Planning a staycation does take some effort, but it’s minimal compared to a vacation abroad.

Depending on what you’d like to do, you can plan a staycation with short notice.

You may have some sort of idea about what type of staycation you’d like to take already, or you may be wondering what are the best options for a staycation near you.

Everyone has a budget, and some budgets are more limited than others.

Listed below are ten cheap staycation ideas for the frugal traveler.

You’ll find some great inspirations for a staycation that will keep your budget intact and let you find the rest and relaxation you deserve.

10 Cheap Staycation Ideas

A staycation is a great way to maintain a life that is balanced with self-care.

Here are some great cheap staycation ideas that will inspire you to do something out of the ordinary to make you feel like you’re doing the best for yourself in your self-care.

1. Long Local Hike with a Picnic

Your staycation plans can be as simple as going to a nearby park and going on a nature hike.

If you live in an urban area, this is a great way to detach from the hectic demands of day-to-day city living.

Hiking is a great way to be fully immersed in nature and get some exercise in.

For the novice hiker who may not have special gear or the physical training to go on an expert hike, this is a great way to get some exercise in and experience nature while feeling like you are on vacation.

You can also get a bit more experimental and take a drive to a local hiking range.

There are different levels of difficulty to the hiking trails in national parks, and you should look into them before taking off for a day of hiking.

The distance and destination can make one day into a fully transformative vacation.

Many cities or small suburban towns are located near regions where there are mountains or large national parks that have hiking trails.

You can easily find maps and directions to nearby national parks online.

Take the time to plan for a hiking day and while you’re at it, plan a picnic too!

For an event such as hiking, you don’t want to overload yourself with items to carry, especially if your hiking trip is only one day.

A perfect picnic for a hiking day would be packed with energy-boosting protein, lightweight, and portable.

A cheap, healthy meal is all you need on a hike to keep you going.

A simple lunch like a ham and cheese baguette is perfect for a hiking day.

This meal is classic, tasty, filling, and won’t get damaged on your way up the mountain or through the hiking trail.

Keep your hiking day as simple as possible, and you’ll have a fantastic time.

2. See a Historical Landmark in Your Town

Oftentimes, we live in one place for so long that we forget that there is a rich history to where we live and why it’s flourished in the way it has.

Taking a day to visit a historical landmark is a great way to reconnect with where you live.

Every town, city, or suburb has a foundational story that explains how that area came to be inhabited.

Learning a little bit about the progress of your town and how it became what it is can help you feel connected to where you live.

This is a great learning experience for an individual or a family that is relaxing and fun.

You can pick a specific period in time or a special place that memorializes a person, an event, or an idea.

Historical landmarks can be fun to visit and fascinating to learn more about.

They can help you understand important events that have influenced your town, the surrounding area, or the world.

Depending on where you live, you can choose to take a drive to a neighboring city or town and take time to discover their rich history.

This is a great way to become more aware of the history of your own town while enjoying a relaxing day alone or with your family.

3. Go for a Leisurely Bike Ride

Bike riding is an excellent way to get exercise into your day and for getting around town.

Taking a day off to go for a bike ride that has nothing to do with commuting to work or for serious sports-related purposes can be fun.

A leisurely bike ride can be very relaxing and you can do it in your own town.

Taking a day trip to a neighboring town that has smoothly paved roads and limited steep areas that require a lot of physical work to climb can be very fun.

If you don’t own a bicycle, you can rent one from a nearby bike rental shop or company.

Attach your bike to the back of your car and take a drive to the nearest quaint town and spend a day riding around and exploring the neighborhood.

Bike riding can be a fun way to see the scenery of any area.

Take the scenic route for an entire day and experience the exhilarating thrill of a simple, joyful bike ride.

Make sure to always wear the proper safety gear, fill up your bike tires, and hit the long and leisurely road.

This is a great way to have a staycation that will make you feel relaxed, free, enlightened, and connected with nature.

4. Build a Fire Pit in Your Backyard, Roast Marshmallows & Stargaze

Everyone loves the feeling of sitting around a fire.

It’s a great way to feel cozy and appreciate the outdoors while taking a moment to find a sense of deep relaxation.

Taking the time out of your busy schedule to plan a camping trip where you’re immersed in nature for a substantial amount of time might not be feasible for you.

A great way to get that camping vibe going without having to schedule time off is to build a fire pit in your backyard.

A DIY fire pit can be a great way to curb spending and add a luxury feature to your home.

It’s easy to set up a fire pit in your backyard, and if DIY-or-die isn’t your style, then you can definitely head to your nearest Home Depot or home goods store and purchase a fire pit that is made of metal.

The benefits of having a fire pit are that you can easily create a cozy environment right in your backyard every night if you wanted to.

Splurge a few dollars on some marshmallows or the ingredients for s’mores and treat yourself to an after-dinner fire.

Take a moment to enjoy the nighttime sky and gaze up at the stars and constellations you can see from home.

If you have a telescope, this is a great time to bust it out and do a bit of high-tech stargazing.

Nothing beats the experience of a well-built fire to help you relax.

Throw in these other ideas, and you’ve created the perfect staycation right at home.

5. Have a Farm Day and Go Berry Picking

If you live in a big town or a major city, getting a good dose of nature isn’t always easy.

Visiting a national park or going to a large body of water might be easy, but sometimes you want a more rustic experience.

Taking the time to go on a farm day can break up the monotonous cycle of living in a fast-paced city with a tight schedule and limited breaks.

Taking a short drive out of your own town into a rural area that has farmland can be a fun day trip.

Lots of farms have seasonal picking days that you can get involved with.

Find a picking calendar for your state, find a farm that has picking days open to the public, and take the time to go and pick some berries.

Alternatively, you can go apple picking or harvest different vegetables throughout the year.

This is a great way to learn about farming in a fun way.

Call ahead to make sure that there is a picking day that allows you to take the food that you harvest home.

Often, you can purchase the amount of harvested food that you picked yourself directly from the farm.

This is a great way to get away from home for the day and do something out of the ordinary.

6. Visit a Local Winery or Vineyard

If you are a person who likes wine and is interested in learning more about how wine is made, where it comes from or simply just want a tasting experience, you should visit a local winery or vineyard.

If you decide that a wine tour is the perfect staycation for you, there are two ways you can go about planning one.

The first way is to find a map of local wineries or vineyards online and simply get in the car and drive.

The DIY wine tour can be inexpensive and can be a lot of fun.

Many wineries will not charge for you to tour the grounds and often they provide free tastings or tastings of specialty wines at a minimal cost.

This makes taking a wine tour an excellent staycation.

Although there isn’t a national registry of all the different wineries, a quick Google search can help you find the nearest ones to you.

The second way to go about going on a wine tour is to hire a tour operator to take you on a guided tour of local wineries.

Going through a tour operator will typically be more expensive, but you may find the value of your experience well worth the cost.

No matter what you choose as the avenue to facilitate your wine tour, this is a great way to get out of your daily routine and do something fun locally.

You can have an easy, DIY staycation in your town and learn more about local wines and how the wines from your region taste.

7. Rent a Kayak or a Stand Up Paddle Board

If you’re lucky enough to live in a place that has a large body of water, there are tons of things you can do for a day-long getaway.

There are many ways to get out on the water with the different rentals out there.

Rent a stand up paddle board (SUP) or a kayak for a day and take it out on the water for a fun, sporty, sun-filled day.

Rental kayaks and stand up paddle boards can be easily reserved online in most areas.

Usually you’ll need some form of safety equipment, especially if you’re going to be in a body of water that exceeds five feet in depth.

Always wear a lifejacket when you’re out on the water.

It is recommended that you go out on a kayak or stand up paddle board in deeper waters only if you know how to swim.

Be sure to inform anyone who is supervising the area if you do not know how to swim.

Make sure to always closely follow all safety instructions, and you’ll have a great time.

Renting a kayak or stand up paddle board is usually very cheap and often you are able to rent by the hour.

This is a great way to get out into nature locally and experience something out of the ordinary.

8. Spend a Day Museum Hopping

Taking the time out to indulge in a cultural outing can be relaxing and fun.

Spending a day going from museum to museum in your town can be a great way to immerse yourself in amazing arts-related experiences and events.

Most museums will have historical artifacts, world-renowned art, ancient pottery, jewelry, and other incredible things to explore.

If you live in a small town that isn’t laden with museums, take a day-trip to a more populated area and check out some of the current exhibits there.

Some museums have admission fees, but if you plan ahead you may be able to go on days where the museum is free and open to the public.

Check to see if your museum options are donation-based, this is also a great way to keep costs low but still contribute to the arts community.

If you don’t want to spend a substantial amount of time in large museums, choose to go to small galleries instead.

A lot of small galleries display local artists and are often free and open to the public for observation.

Their exhibits won’t be as extensive and you can easily map out what you’d like to see ahead of time.

Museum hopping is a fun way to get out of your house and experience culture without having to go very far.

The biggest upside to gallery or museum hopping is that once you’ve found a museum that you like, you’ll be able to keep track of their on-going exhibitions throughout the year.

Make your staycation an art fueled experience that will make you feel culturally connected without having to go abroad.

9. Be a Photographer for a Day

A cool and inspiring way to have a great staycation is to become a photographer for a day.

You don’t need to have special training or fancy equipment to be a photographer.

All you need is some time, a good location, and a functioning camera to become a photographer for a day.

If you don’t have a DSLR camera or just want to rent a fancy camera from a local technology or photography store, you easily can do that.

If you’d prefer to use your own camera, an old camera, a Polaroid camera, or a disposable camera, that works too!

The goal is to not use your phone camera, but instead, go retro and use a point-and-shoot style camera.

Modern cameras have added benefits and features that can help you fine-tune your photographic experience, but they aren’t necessary for a good time.

Take your camera to any part of town that you’d like and take photos of things that interest you and catch your eye.

You can take a drive to a nearby landmark, park, historical site, or bustling business area and photograph the things that you see and experience.

You don’t have to know anything more than how to shoot the camera, and you may find that you’ve got a naturally good eye for photography.

You’ll have a fun time looking out for different opportunities to put your camera to use.

You’ll be able to enjoy the added benefit of documenting your day.

There is a possibility that you may discover a new love for photography and develop an ongoing hobby that brings you relaxation and peace.

Even if you don’t end up taking marvelous photos, you’ll have a great time playing around with photographic elements like lighting, subject, and space.

Taking some time to detach from your phone camera can help you feel more connected to your environment as you take the time to plan and shoot your photos.

This is a great way to have a staycation near your home or in a neighboring town and explore your creative side at the same time.

10. Go for a Spa Day in Your Town

Taking the time to really pamper yourself can be easily done at any time!

You might think that you have to go on an excursion to get a little you time in, but you don’t.

You can easily have a spa day in your town and find the relaxation and restorative experiences that you need to balance you out.

You might think that a spa day is expensive, but with the rise in self-care awareness and the commercialization of spa experiences, you can go for a spa day without breaking the bank.

Awesome online websites like Groupon have crazy deals on spa treatments ranging from full-day spa experiences to just a single pampering excursion like a massage or acupuncture.

Treating yourself has never been easier.

Taking the time to have a relaxing spa day can really bring you back to your center.

Enjoying the benefits of a spa day can be restorative and relaxing, keeping you steadily moving forward in the other aspects of your life.

If you’d rather steer clear of a spa outside of your home and have a self-care day at home, you can easily do that as well.

Plan a day for yourself where you bust out all of the accoutrements for yourself care and go to town.

There are many awesome at-home spa treatments that you can do right at home.

Doing a rejuvenating facial will help keep your skin moisturized and looking youthful.

Taking the time out to do a mani-pedi where you can experiment with different techniques and tweak your mani-pedi to suit your personal taste can be extremely relaxing.

Relaxing and rejuvenating by taking a long relaxing bath with candles and essential oils can be just the trick for a great staycation.

Simply light some aromatherapy candles and put on some relaxing music to get your staycation underway.

You don’t have to go to a spa far from home or even leave your home at all to have a successful and relaxing staycation.

Staycations Made Easy

With all of these inspirational ideas for staycations, it’ll be easy to stay near your home and have an exciting time without breaking the bank.

A good staycation is indicated by how relaxed and free you feel during and after the experience.

A staycation should be a stress-free period full of fun and relaxation.

Your daily life can be very stressful and taking the time to unwind is integral to maintaining a balanced and happy life.

These few options are just some of the ways you can have a staycation.

There are plenty of ideas out there for big or small staycations.

There are also other options out there that can be expensive and well worth the experience, but if you’re trying to have a fun staycation on a budget, you can start with these simple ideas.

We all know that traveling is a lot of fun, and taking a vacation is as well.

There definitely are plenty of ways to save money while traveling, but you don’t have to stray far to have a great time.

Take some time out to travel and vacation near home in small doses and you won’t feel the urge to pack your bags and go off on an expensive trip as often.

Staycations are beneficial to your happiness and can be restorative in various ways.

With the idea of a staycation in mind, it can be easy to implement moments of restoration and rejuvenation every month.

Start with simple, inexpensive ideas and work your way up to more committed staycations if diving into an exploratory experience isn’t for you.

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