How to Make a Cheap Staycation Special

A young man and woman in a rowboat with a city skyline in the background.

It can be tempting to take a vacation even when money is tight. Especially one or two years after an expensive wedding, many couples find it a bit of a bummer that a big vacation isn’t in the cards. You might have taken a lovely honeymoon, but a year or two into marriage, you want a chance to reconnect with each other and recharge from work. The solution? A cheap staycation! You’d be surprised how much fun you can have without paying the costs of transportation and lodging. Here are some ways to really do your staycation right.

Make a Budget

A young man and woman roasting marshmallows outside.

While you certainly don’t have to spend a lot to have a good staycation, it can be fun to give yourself a certain amount of “play money” for the time you and your spouse take off work. Even if that money goes toward renting movies, buying popcorn, and a bag of marshmallows to roast at a backyard fire pit, a little budget for fun can make a staycation fun. If you really feel the pinch, look at your grocery budget for the week and see if, by eating some food from the freezer and having canned soup here and there, you can carve out some cash for a few fun luxuries.

Play Tourist in Your Town

You’ve probably seen most of the attractions in your area, but what landmark or activity could you visit just by driving 15 or 20 miles away? Chances are there is something inexpensive or free to try that will make you feel like you’ve ventured out into the world, without the cost of a plane ticket. You can also opt for a walk around your town; everything feels a little different when seen on foot rather than from the window of a car.

Go Hard on Your Hobbies

A young man and woman stretching in a gym.

If you’re already paying for a gym membership, why not try a couple of new classes this week together? If you like woodworking or crafting, find a half-done project and complete it. Many of us look longingly at the instrument we rarely play or the golf clubs we rarely pick up; a staycation is a perfect time to really get out and make those things happen.

Finish Some Projects Around the House

Sure, no one wants to have to work on a staycation, but many people love the impact of getting a few hours to make a real dent in a project. Whether you choose a landscaping project for your yard or a closet clean-out, you get the sense of satisfaction that makes it feel even sweeter to relax together afterwards (and you get to cross something off your to-do list that would otherwise sit there for weeks).

Relax With Abandon

A young couple relaxing on a blanket in grass.

Whether relaxation means sleeping till noon, taking a bath with a glass of wine, or getting a massage, a staycation should promote relaxation. Everything from a trip to the library for good books to a new box of delicious tea can create an atmosphere of calm. If you miss the beach, pull out a lounge chair and set it up on your porch; you’ll still catch a few rays and can fall asleep under an umbrella—just without the waves lapping at your feet. If there’s a river or lake nearby, you can make the experience even more complete! Many who have relaxing staycations often realize that they are nearly as effective as traveling far away from home.

Turn off Your Phone

One of the best plans for a staycation is to stop checking email all the time, and at least occasionally turn off your phone. For a staycation to feel like more than a week to run extra errands, you need to make mental space for rest. Do not let others continually pull you back into daily life drama. Just like how no one would be able to call you all the time if you were at the beach, create some boundaries for yourself for this “trip,” too. You’ll return to regular life far more refreshed.

The best part of a staycation is that it’s totally customizable based on what you have to spend, what you need and want to get done, and your favorite ways to relax. Above all, make time to spend with your spouse, since vacation can often create some of the sweetest memories you share together.

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