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Four Reasons You Should Replace Your Vacation With a Staycation

Whether you've got two weeks’ worth of vacation coming to you or just a long weekend on the horizon, the burning question in the back of your mind is usually something along the lines of “Where should I go?”

08/02/2013 by Erin Owensby

Whether you've got two weeks’ worth of vacation coming to you or just a long weekend on the horizon, the burning question in the back of your mind is usually something along the lines of “Where should I go?”

Then reality sets in, and you realize that a variety of circumstances stands between you and your much-anticipated vacation, and the question becomes “Where can I afford to go?” or “Where do I have time to go?”

You’re in luck, because there are a lot of benefits to staying in your general vicinity and making it a staycation instead.

"Booooring!" you say, but keep reading. And consider unpacking your luggage – you may be staying a while.

Cash Flow Concerns

Vacations are generally expensive – that’s not news to anyone, especially if you’re traveling with a family. Plane tickets, rental cars, gas, hotel stays, food, activities and various expenses can add up astronomically over the course of just a few days. If you've got the funds for an annual vacation that includes most or all of these things, kudos to you. You are likely very good at budgeting. If you don’t, it doesn't mean you’re not good at budgeting, but it DOES mean you’ll need some alternatives.

You have a vehicle, or access to one, and you have a place to live. That’s two big expenses you can mark off your list right now. How much cash does that free up for amazing experiences? If you live in a city, drive to the country for a few days, and if you live in the country, check out a nearby city. You’ll discover new food, new places to shop, a LOT of new places and things to photograph, Instagram, Facebook and blog about, and that might be just in the first couple of days.

And hey – if you spend half as much, you can go twice as often.

Where did the time go?

One of the main factors determining how you spend your time off is exactly how much of it you've got between the time you walk out of your workplace (or your kids get off the school bus) and the time you have to walk back into it. Traveling takes time, especially air travel. If you’re planning on flying to your destination – and you probably are if it’s more than 3-4 hours away – you’re basically looking at two whole days lost to getting there and back again. Getting to the airport, checking in, flying, arriving, getting a rental car or taxi and getting to your hotel can really drain hours out of the day, and you can plan on adding to it if you’re traveling with children. That’s not counting delays beyond your control, either, like flight delays or traffic jams. If you've only got a few days, ouch.

Look around your immediate area, say, within an hour or so. Are there any towns you've been meaning to visit but haven’t? What about a fancy hotel that you've never stayed in because, well, why would you? You live here. Chances are the answer to both questions is yes. Visiting a local hotel with a great spa or staying at a small Bed & Breakfast outside of town are great experiences just waiting for you to discover, no matter how long you've lived nearby. Think about activities that you haven’t made time for in a while, like camping or a weekend hike. Just because you’re staying home (or at a local hotel) doesn't mean you have to sit around all weekend.

That honey-do list is multiplying

If you walk by something in your home and think, “I really need to fix that. Next time I have some free time, I’m going to,” congratulations. You are not alone. Racking up a three-page-long list of all the things you need to do or would like to do if you had time is stressful, and so is living with a running toilet or a kitchen that’s looked the same since 1973. Sometimes taking a week off from your job to do some work is both mentally refreshing (goodbye, computer screen) and can make your running to-do list more manageable at the same time.

One of the main benefits of a staycation is that your time is yours. Period. You can do anything you want with it. If that means organizing your 3,212 comic books by year and universe, more power to you. If it means taking a sledgehammer to some ugly avocado tile, be sure to take before and after pictures. You can go back to work feeling like you accomplished something, even if it was more “work.”

Why do you live here, again?

Think for a moment about where you live. Think of places you've driven past, the commercials you've seen lately, the places you used to go when you were younger. When was the last time you went to that huge amusement park or water park? Have you ever been to the nature preserve or Civil War battlefield or historic landmark a couple towns over? There’s no better time to visit these places (seasonally appropriate, of course), or revisit them, if that’s the case. You may be able to introduce your children to something you enjoyed when you were their age, and they may put you back in touch with your inner child as you both scream your heads off while hanging upside down 100 feet off the ground. A staycation allows you to take advantage of everything that’s great about where you live, without cutting into the budget too much.

Time and money constraints don’t mean you have to skip vacation, they just mean than you have to line up an alternative staycation that’s just as fun and rewarding.

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