How to Plan a Cheap Staycation That Feels Expensive

Have you ever found yourself desperately in need of a vacation, but you can’t actually travel? Our family loves traveling and exploring the world as a family. But sometimes, traveling away from home just isn’t in your budgeting cards. If it feels like everyone is headed out of town, but you can't leave your backyard, I've got some tips so that you can help plan a cheap staycation that feels expensive and can give you that break that you need!

planning a cheap staycation that feels expensive

How to Plan a Cheap Staycation That Feels Expensive


I’ve shared a lot of tips and tricks for planning a staycation. But, I’ve never shared, by far, my best tip of all, how to staycation on a budget!

How to make your staycation feel like a vacation

The difference between a lavish vacation and a budget-friendly staycation starts with your mindset. You don’t have to leave your home to have a great break from the everyday stress of your life, but often we struggle with shifting our mindset when surrounded by the same old house we’re always used to.



This is why I came up with my own set of staycation rules that we follow to make it feel more like a vacation:

Rule #1: No household chores and NO ERRANDS

While you are staycationing, absolutely no chores or errands should be done. Get these done before you start your staycation, and leave the chores and errands for when you return. This includes everything from dishes to cleaning the bathroom. Before I leave for vacation, I do this, so why wouldn't I do this before I plan a staycation? Set yourself up for success by creating a relaxing environment so all the to do's can be put on autopilot.

Rule #2: No work

You’re supposed to be on vacation, remember? Unplug from work and set a vacation away message while you’re gone. Just because you are close to all of your daily tasks doesn't mean you can't step back. This might also be a good way to reset some boundaries for work/life balance too. The world will still keep spinning, I promise!

Rule #3 Staycation like a vacation

If you normally plan out activities for your destination, do that! If you normally go with the flow, do that! Plan your staycation just like you would a real vacation. We actually live in the same area my husband grew up in and has lived in for 40+ years. There are still plans nearby that he's never been to or experienced. So whether you've been in your area for a few months or for a few decades, I promise you, you'll still be able to find some things to do that will help it feel like vacation.

Rule #4: Step outside of your comfort zone

Staycations can be more relaxing than a vacation, and you can still have those amazing and fantastic memories. Challenge yourself to get outside of your comfort zone and try something new. 

Plan your staycation

While you can certainly plan a no-spend staycation, you should have a budget plan for what you will spend during your vacation. Think about where and what you want to eat and what you’ll do, and start planning out the details of your vacation.  This will keep you on a budget and help you prioritize what things are important for you and your family while you’re staying. We make a bucket list for your staycation to help give you focus for our time off and a plan for each day.

Plan to do things you wouldn't normally do. Don't worry, this doesn't mean you'll continue to splurge on these items, but planning for a few uncharacteristic expenses will be fun for the whole family and will make you feel like you've got the vacation mindset.



You can find all my tips for planning a successful staycation here.

Find free and low-cost activities and entertainment

To help you save money during your staycation, look for deals on Groupon or Living Social for things like museums, restaurants, zoos, and other deals in your area. Look for local discounts and even weekday savings that you can take advantage of.

The library is also a great resource. Our local library has free family passes for local attractions from state parks to museums. During the summer, our local library also has reading programs for kids and adults and they often have free passes and restaurant coupons as an incentive.

Don't miss this post: Surprising Library Benefits That Will Save You Money

Join your local Facebook Buy Nothing page too. You'll find neighbors who are very generous with everything from offering their private beach access for the day to passes to the local amusement park or concerts they can't use.



Don’t be afraid to stay home

You may feel tempted to spend all your time out and about enjoying the views and local attractions, but these don’t come cheap. You can enjoy movie nights and fancy dinners at home to help you reduce some of your out-of-pocket expenses. If you need some activity ideas, I wrote a whole post of staycation ideas you could do at home to help you out!

Final thoughts on staycationing on a budget

There are many great ways to staycation that won’t deprive you of any fun you get from a vacation. Staycations can be relaxing, and you can still have a wonderful experience without layovers or travel time.


disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!

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