How to Plan a Staycation on a Budget

Who doesn’t like a good vacation? But what happens when a family vacation doesn’t quite fit into the budget? Do you skip it altogether? Nope! Instead of spending hundreds (or thousands) on a family vacation, plan a STAYCATION instead. Not only do you still get a break from the everyday routine, but your wallet also does too.

What Is a Staycation?

You might have seen the word “staycation” popping up quite a few times over the past few years. But this is not a new concept at all: the word actually originated back in 2008 to describe a vacation spent at home or nearby.

A staycation is similar to a vacation, only with less travel. When you take a staycation, you’re skipping the expensive flights and fancy all-inclusive resorts in favor of sleeping in your own bed and saving some of your hard-earned money.

And not only are you saving money, but you’re also saving yourself from all that stress of traveling, the chance of overspending, and that post-vacation reality check. 

Staycation on a Budget

It’s a well known fact that vacations often leave you feeling more worn out than before you left. Between packing, travel, checking in and out, and the constant barrage of activities it is exhausting! Travel can get pretty expensive, but with proper planning, a staycation can have all the benefits of a traditional vacation without the stress, financial burden, or the exhaustive travel. 

Check out these affordable ways of planning a staycation on a budget. Add your own splash of creativity and you’ll have some great stories to tell and create great memories. 

1. Movie Night Staycation at Home

My kids are definitely into blockbuster movies and it does seem like we see at least two movies every month. Without a doubt going to the movie theaters can be expensive. If you’re trying to save money, why not enjoy a movie night at home? This can be a fun staycation idea at home.

A great idea would be to pick a theme, such as Night at the Oscars or have a Jurassic Park marathon.  About two years ago I purchased a projector that I still use to host backyard movie nights.

2. Be a Tourist in Your City

What better than being a tourist in your own city for a day. Plan a day trip in your city to discover new neighborhoods and new things to do. 

You can visit local museums, historical spots, nature parks, public art displays, art galleries, gardens, and more. Some cities offer admission discounts to local residents. If you live in a popular city, you can save money at popular attractions with a tourism pass.

3. Have An At-home Spa Day

Who doesn’t look forward to a day of spa treatments? The massage, the facial, the steam bath. Everything is great until you get that final bill. Why not skip the expensive spas and relax with an at-home spa day. 

You can create that pampered feeling yourself for a whole lot less money. With just a few affordable ingredients, some of which you  already have in your pantry,  you can easily recreate a memorable spa day at home. And a few small purchases can turn your run-of-the-mill bathroom into the perfect location for a luxurious at-home spa experience.

4. Plan a Weekend Getaway Near You

If your budget allows you, why not plan a weekend getaway near you. This is a great idea for couples. If you want to get away for the night without having to go too far from home, booking a luxury hotel in your city or a nearby town can 

5. Beach Day

The beach is one of the most popular go-to spots for the ultimate staycation. If the weather is nice and warm, make a splash and cool down but even if the water is on the chillier side, you can still have a good time. If you don’t have a beach nearby, many of the same activities can be enjoyed by a lake or pond.

Be creative and put your own spin on treasure hunting, beach volleyball, kite flying, beach board games, and sandcastles.

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6. Host a Cooking Night

If you’re one of those travelers who eats your way around new locales, transform your kitchen into a dining destination. Invite a few friends over to try out some new recipes and have fun creating an exotic dinner right in the comfort of your own home. 

If you’re really feeling creative, pick a culture or cuisine and turn it into a multi-course affair, complete with beverages, dessert, and decor.

RELATED: How to Budget For Dining Out

7. Have a Cozy Picnic

An outdoor picnic can be an excellent idea without spending a lot of money. You can find the best picnic spots in your area with a search online, then head over with some friends or your partner. Just pack some food and beverages to enjoy, and you’re all set!

You can create a theme to make it fun, such as Mexican food or party appetizers.

8. Take an Art Class

Stretch your creative muscles by taking an art class. Check with your local community center to see if they have free or low-cost offerings, or find out if nearby colleges or universities offer one-day workshops. You’ll even get a cool new piece of decor to show for it!

9. Join a Volunteer Program

Joining a volunteer program is a great way to travel to a nearby destination and give something back to the local community. Many non-profit organizations host volunteer programs and offer different ways you can help. So, make sure to inquire about these programs and find one that suits your interest and supports a cause that you feel passionate about.


The best way to have the staycation on a budget that you want is to plan for it. Start with the basics: when it should begin and when it should end.  The next step is to plan your activities. If you don’t, you might end up cleaning out the garage, doing chores around the house, watching TV, or browsing the internet  stuff that probably won’t make for good memories. 

As you think about what activities you want to do, make a staycation budget to decide how best to use your hard-earned cash.

Have you and your family enjoyed a staycation on a budget latley?