Do you feel like it’s time for vacation, but don’t have the money for one?
Staycations are a very popular alternative to a pricey summer vacation. I took a staycation last year for an entire week, and while it was nice and affordable, it was nothing like a vacation.
With a staycation, you simply stay home and enjoy the attractions and activities in your area.
It’s fun to play tourist and check out things in your neighborhood that you haven’t taken the time to enjoy.
You can even take day trips and save a lot of money since you’ll return to sleep at your own home for the night.
To me, a staycation is great for holding you over for an actual vacation. However, you shouldn’t expect it to feel like a real vacation.
If you already take the time to explore and enjoy your own neighborhood and attend events in surrounding areas, you may be tired of taking ‘staycations’ by now.
If you are in the mood for something different, but don’t want to spend a ton of money, consider some of these frugal trip ideas instead.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming and it’s a 3,500 sq. ft. park atop a volcanic hot spot. The park is so large that some of it spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho. It’s a beautiful park with tons to do and see. There are canyons, bridges, lakes, and of course, a hot springs area.
If you are driving, you may be able to leave at night and reach the park the following day, depending on where you live. There is a small fee to enter but it is waived for anyone under the age of 15. Plus, there are also free entry days and a few are coming up in August this year.
Camping at the park is one of the best ways to avoid high hotel fees. Camping costs as little as $12 per night at some sites, but camp sites with more amenities like flush toilets and laundry facilities cost around $20 per night. There are also quite a few AirBnb options nearby, listed at a fraction of the cost of a local hotel.
Visit a Water Park
If a luxurious tropical vacation is not in the budget, choose the next best option and select a water park in the country to visit. If you have kids, they’ll most likely find any water park amusing.
You can compare rates for water parks all over the country here to find the best rate and location for you. Some of the cheapest water parks I found were Discovery Island in South Carolina with a $12 admission for people over 48” tall, and an $8 admission for any under 47” tall, along with Tie Breaker Water Park in Kentucky with an $8 admission rate.
If you choose a water park with a low admission fee, you’ll have more money to spend stopping by attractions and touring the area. You can also reserve an AirBnb and bring some food along so you can cook most meals on your own and dine out once per day.
Stop By the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a huge landmark and a must-see. Consider all your options when traveling there. If it’s cheaper, see if you can drive or rent an RV. Camping would definitely be advised if you want to have more of a budget for any tours you have in mind, but if you’re interested in staying in a hotel, the Bright Angel Lodge has guest rooms starting at just $93 per night.
Entry into the Grand Canyon for a 4-person car is $30. If you plan on visiting other parks within a year’s time, consider buying the annual pass for $80 to cut back on fees.
When it comes to activities, scope out all the free opportunities and experiences like hiking, the Grand Canyon Village, North Rim, Bright Angel Trail, Rim Trail, Havasu Falls, art exhibits and more.
East Hill Farm
Looking to escape your large town or urban environment and embrace the simplicity of country living? You can visit East Hill Farm in Troy, New Hampshire and even bring your animals too. This farm is a great frugal option for families.
The farm actually has an inn with several lodging options. Rooms are priced per person per night, and while those rates might seem higher, it includes 3 meals per day, a complete children’s program, nightly activities for the whole family, and the use of other amenities like boats, tennis, indoor pools and whirlpools, hiking trails, paddle boats, row boats and more.
There is an extra fee for activities like horseback riding, skiing and use of their spa services.Instead of taking a staycation, have fun on one of these frugal trips instead Click To Tweet
A Florida Beach Retreat
No kids? No problem. You can head down to one of Florida’s beaches with a friend or significant other to enjoy the warm weather.
AirBnb has really affordable prices on beachside homes with some starting at $150 per night, which is only $75 per night for two people. Hanging out at the beach is a great way to relax, plus you can always venture off and check out the neighborhood for some tourist interaction.
Extra Tips to Save Money
Try to stay domestic – You’ll notice that all the trips I mentioned are domestic. That wasn’t by accident. While there are plenty of fun and exciting vacation destinations outside of the country, if you can’t afford to fly abroad, there is plenty to do domestically. You can always start saving up for a foreign trip for next year.
Drive if you can – Like I mentioned earlier, try to choose a destination that is accessible by car. Road trips can be really fun, save you plenty on expensive plane tickets, there are no limitations on your luggage, and so on. If you don’t want to add extra miles to your own vehicle, consider renting a car. Enterprise has weekend specials and low rates for economy cars.
Travel with other people – Asking friends or family members to take a trip with you can really help you keep costs in line because everyone can pitch in for certain expenses.
Do you have any frugal trips planned this year? How do you keep costs down on your vacations?