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Summer always brings a bevy of vacation options, some more exotic than others. But, you don’t have to travel far or do something major to have a great vacation. There are many fun and affordable staycation ideas that can give you a memorable vacation memory by just staying close to home.

Staycation Ideas

So, what exactly is the definition of a staycation? It’s pretty self-explanatory, but according to the Oxford Dictionary, it’s “a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions. Similarly, Merriam-Webster says it’s, “a vacation spent at home or nearby.” I think it’s a stretch to call any vacation that’s spent in your home country a staycation. That would mean that someone living in Michigan who travels to California for a vacation is really having a “staycation.” It makes much more sense to define a staycation as a vacation where you literally stay at home or do something fun in your local area. Thankfully, there are a plethora of great staycation ideas out there.

Plenty of cities have “be a tourist in your own town” activities promoted by their local city tourist bureaus, which are perfect for a staycation. Really, staycations have been around forever, but they increased in popularity during the pandemic, when people actually weren’t allowed to travel abroad. Still, even after the pandemic, the staycation is going strong. According to an international study by tourism and hospitality experts in the U.S. and China, the “staycation phenomenon” that started during the pandemic is still very popular and likely to stay as a new normal. The study, dubbed “Customer Preferences for Staycation Package Attributes,” is published online in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. It researched the local staycation preferences of Chinese tourists, as well as staycation information from the U.S., Netherlands and Indonesia.

I love a good staycation. It can be stressful to plan a huge trip to squeeze into your time off. By the time you get everything packed, do all the flight stuff and get to your hotel, you might just feel like resting for the short while that you’re at your destination. What’s more, you can often find so many great places close to home that you’ve never experienced before. I’ve had so many great staycations where I ventured to a part of town or the state that I had never been before, and those are among my favorite vacation memories. In that spirit, here are some fun and affordable staycation ideas. Send me your ideas, too.

  • Netflix and Chill

    Have a vacation in your living room or bedroom. Make it a movie-watching marathon. Watch a string of your favorite guilty-pleasure movies or binge-watch a brand new series. Either way, it’ll be cozy and comfy.

    Netflix and Chill

    Getty Images / demaerre

  • Visit a Local or National Park

    If you have a state or national park nearby, use your vacation time to go adventuring. Being at a local park can offer some breathtaking scenery, especially in the summer. Have a picnic out there, too. If you don’t have a state or national park close by, try a local park.

    Visit a Local or National Park

    Getty Images / corradobarattaphotos

  • Visit a Local Museum or Art Gallery

    Nearly every town has a local museum or art gallery. Perhaps you’ve never really had the time to visit your local museum or art spot. Use your vacation time to explore those local spots, and you might find a new favorite place.

    Visit a Local Museum or Art Gallery

    Getty Images / shironosov

  • Stay at a Local Hotel, Airbnb or Bed-and-Breakfast

    If you’ve driven by that new hotel for a while and wondered what it’s like inside, why not book it for a night? You don’t have to be traveling to say at a hotel, Airbnb or local bed-and-breakfast. It can make for an exciting adventure right in your backyard.

    Stay at a Local Hotel, Airbnb or Bed-and-Breakfast

    Getty Images / Kristen-Prahl

  • Have a Party

    Using vacation time to plan a big party for friends is a good use of that time. Instead of traveling around the world, bring to world to you. Invite lots of your good friends, and spend some of the cash you would have on a vacation for your party. It’ll be the party of the year. Make that decade.

    Have a Party

    Getty Images / SeventyFour

  • Have a Spa Day

    Pamper yourself. Maybe you think having a spa day is too much of a luxury, but if you’re saving money by not taking a big trip, why not use that money for a spa day? It’s not just for ladies, either. Guys can book a spa day for a variety of services. It’ll make for a day of bliss.

    Have a Spa Day

    Getty Images / monkeybusinessimages

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