With a new baby this year and a focus on saving our pennies so we can purchase a larger home, our family budget just doesn’t have space for traditional Spring Break or Summer vacations. But, that doesn’t mean we’ll spend our vacation days on house projects. Oh no!
I have a plan to create a frugal Rhode Island family staycation!
What do you need to make it FEEL like a vacation?
My children know that a vacation means:
- eating at restaurants everyday,
- visiting tourist sites,
- swimming in the hotel pool,
- and at least one “Lazy Day” spent in pjs, watching TV/video marathons, and eating junk food.
What does your family need to make it feel like a vacation? Lots of site seeing activities? An amusement park? Eating out everyday? Or a “lazy day” spent in pjs watching a Star Wars marathon? Knowing what your family wants goes a long way toward creating a perfect vacation at home.
How do you make a staycation FEEL like a vacation?
Now is the time to think outside the box. Spending money for that vacation feeling is easy, but with a little frugal creativity we can generate those same emotions. Here are some tips I’m using to create a frugal staycation:
Eating Out Frugally
- Make a list of the places or type of food your family wants to eat. Ask family members if it HAS to be On the Border or will another Mexican restaurant work just as well.
- Then google that restaurant (or style of food) for discounts or coupons.
- Most chain restaurants offer an email club. Even family owned restaurants have websites or Facebook pages today. Subscribe and watch for coupons or discounts.
- Are your children 12 years old or younger? Call the restaurant you want to eat at and ask if they have a Kids Eat Free night each week.
Site Seeing in Your Own Neighborhood
- Check this list of staycations in 60+ cities and regions for a destination near you. Each list was created by women who know the best spots to visit!
- Google “Visit Rhode Island” or “Visit Providence” (obviously you want to substitute your state/city for mine) and poke around the tourist website for your area.
- Make a list of places your family would enjoy. Visit their websites and Facebook pages looking for discounts, coupons, or special spring break or summer holidays events.
- Consider small, off-the-beaten-path places as they are usually cheaper than the popular sites. For example, in Providence you can visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo for $15 per adult. OR in the same park you can visit the Natural History Museum and Planetarium for $5 per adult. That’s a big savings but an equally memorable activity.
- Don’t forget state and city parks for hiking, picnics, or throwing a frisbee around!
Got a pool?
Many of us in New England do not have pools, indoor OR outdoor. So this wish list item can take a bit of ingenuity.
- Ask a neighbor or friend if you can use their pool during the week. Offering to help purchase chemicals or clean the pool might be a good idea!
- Call around to local community pools, the YMCA, or health clubs and ask for per day rates during your vacation week.
- Call around to local hotels with pools and ask if you could pay a per diem rate to use their pool.
- OR you could research hotel discounts and spend only 1 night at a local hotel. Check in during the early afternoon and check out late morning the next day. That’s hours and hours to spend in the pool!
- My favorite way to use a pool is to invite out-of-state relatives to visit and recommend a nearby hotel with an indoor pool. Be sure to tell them how much your kids would enjoy visiting their hotel pool!
Time for a Lazy Day!
Last but certainly not least, plan your very own lazy day at home. Select a movie marathon as a family (Anne of Green Gables, classic Disney movies, or Chronicles of Narnia come to mind). Stock up on your family’s favorite junk food. Then pick a day to stay in your pajamas and veg in front of the TV. I don’t recommend a whole week of this, but one day can be a lot of fun!
With a little ingenuity and planning a spring break or summer staycation can be just as fun as a road trip – without all the hassle of packing!
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for making a staycation feel like a regular vacation?