You can help your family save money by staying closer to home during shorter breaks and then splurge big when the long summer vacation comes around.

4 Budget-Friendly Staycation Ideas You Just Can't Ignore

6 Budget-Friendly Staycation Ideas You Just Can’t Ignore

CEE Standard: Saving

Out-of-town trips are not always in the cards for students and their families because of the cost. So what can they do if they are stuck in their hometown and don’t have a huge budget? Have a staycation! Let your teens plan a staycation for themselves and their friends and family members. See how many fun things they can come up with to do without breaking the bank. 

Top ideas to give your students for planning a staycation when a family vacation isn't a possibility. Give them a budget and let them plan a fun but frugal staycation for their family.During shorter breaks like Thanksgiving or spring break, I love to plan staycations so that I can save up for bigger vacations when I have more free time, like the summer. But you’ve still got to have some fun during your staycation! Here are some of my favorite staycation ideas for those short breaks:

1. Themed Movie Night

You can pick a subject — maybe a sci-fi or Tarantino night. You can even incorporate snacks into the theme. For example, for the Tarantino night, bring out the foods that you can stress-eat, or maybe something spicy. You can also make it potluck-style and coordinate who brings what type of plate.

If you really want to save money, make it a YouTube night and binge on one of your favorite YouTubers. That’s a little more niche-oriented, of course. But it can also help you see which friends’ interests are closest to yours.

2. Board Game Night

Personality and perception-based card games are my personal favorite because no matter how much you play them, there will always be a different outcome based on who has certain cards. If you don’t have card or board games, ask to borrow some from a friend. Or even better… invite that friend over.

There are also games for which you can improvise the materials yourself. In Mafia or Werewolf, for example, you only need to create role cards. There are also apps and websites that can help you figure out how to play these games.

3. Food Adventures

Sometimes we get so busy in life that we tend to sideline the small things. “Food adventures” are moments when you take for yourself to explore food places nearby. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It could just be a new bubble tea or dessert spot in town. Or that Mexican restaurant you’ve never been to.

Personally, I always have a list of restaurants and cafés that I want to visit. Check out some food blogs for inspiration. You could even figure out what food your hometown is known for and try that if you haven’t already.

Doing this every day during your staycation will rack up a big bill, but try picking one or two places to visit during your staycation. That shouldn’t harm your wallet.

4. Spa Day

There’s sure to be a local spa with a day package that might include things like a mani/pedi, a facial, or a massage. This would be a great way to save on hotel costs and such, and you could top the day off with a nice dinner out.

If money is super tight, with a little effort, you can plan a spa day for friends and/or family members who want to participate. At home you can help each other with a facial mask, manicures, or a deep-conditioning hair treatment. This is a great way to have a lovely day on the cheap!

5. Backyard Camping

If you have a tent or can borrow one from a friend, a little backyard camping might be just what you need. If you can safely have a campfire and make s’mores, even better! If you can’t have a fire in your area, fix the food and snacks inside and bring them out ready to go! Just getting outdoors and doing something different can be a huge stress reliever. Don’t forget the bug spray and the flashlights!

6. Be a Hometown Tourist

Take some time to get to know your hometown — or wherever you’re currently living. See if you can find museums, parks, monuments, or beaches to enjoy some quiet time. You’d be surprised by what you can find out about your area. Sometimes something amazing is hiding right under your nose. And a lot of it may even be free!

The Bottom Line

The most important thing about a staycation is to make sure that you give yourself some self-care. In fact, you don’t have to do everything on this list. It’s also okay to stay home and give your mind some rest. You shouldn’t need a vacation from your vacation. You do you — after all, you know yourself best.

Check List

  • What are some movies and board games you can include in your staycation?
  • What are some local restaurants you haven’t tried yet?
  • What type of activities could you do in your backyard for free or in your community rec center?
  • What are the tourist attractions in your town you can go to?
  • Make a Top 10 list of free things to do in your community you’ve never tried before.