by Jolene Tang, Contributing Writer
The best parts about going on vacation are having time to relax, experiencing new things, and making memories with those I love.
But sometimes we are too busy, don't have enough money, and then don't have enough energy to plan a vacation, let alone go on one.
If you can relate, then why not save a little bit of money this summer and have a staycation with your loved ones?
Here are ten ideas to help you start planning one that's just as exciting and special as a vacation, all without leaving the comforts of your own city.
1. VOLUNTEER LOCALLY
Volunteering for local organizations gives you the opportunity to make memories with your family while making a difference in your community.
You could perform classical music at a nursing home, sort through donations at a local homeless shelter, or even deliver groceries to families in need. The possibilities are endless! Just pick one activity your family might be interested in and spend a few hours doing it together.
2. PLAY GAMES TOGETHER
I love playing board games. Some of my fondest memories are of game nights spent with my family, laughing until I was crying and my sides ached.
So, try out a new game during your staycation, or bring out a classic that you know everyone will love. And if it's just going to be you and your significant other, check out this great post with 20 ideas of two player games for date night.
3. PAY SOMEONE TO HELP WITH HOUSEWORK
One of my favorite things about staying in a hotel on vacation is not having to make the bed or clean the kitchen. So, avoid getting sucked into cleaning mode on your staycation by having someone come help you with the housework for a few days.
It can even be a friend's daughter who wants to earn some extra money over the summer. But having someone around to do a few extra loads of laundry and run the dishwasher after dinner will give you even more time to relax and be with family.
4. START A GARDEN
If it's the right time of year, go outside and brighten up your yard by starting a garden!
Plant some vegetables or fruits, or even a bed of beautiful flowers that you can enjoy for months to come.
5. WATCH OLD HOME MOVIES
Instead of renting the latest blockbuster, why not spend an evening watching a few home movies?
Pop up a bowl of fresh popcorn and grab some comfy blankets. Then, plop down on the couch and start reliving the memories!
6. MAKE A ROPE SWING
I grew up with a playhouse in my backyard and loved it. But I will never forget the summer my dad made my brother and me a rope swing in our front yard. I felt like I could fly, and I never wanted it to end!
So, if you have kids, go outside and make them something! It doesn't have to be a rope swing, and it doesn't have to last forever. But be creative and try to give them a way to use their imaginations in the great outdoors.
7. MAKE OR BUY A SPECIAL DINNER
One thing my husband and I love to do on our vacations is try out new cuisines.
A great way to apply this concept to a staycation is to have a dinner that is international-themed, or incorporates a type of food that your family has never tried before. Be adventurous! And if you are afraid to do the cooking, feel free to get takeout from a local mom and pop restaurant!
8. UNPLUG FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
Nothing is more of a time waste for me on vacation than getting distracted by social media, emails and text messages.
If you really want to relax at home with your family, turn off your phone for a few hours, or at the very least turn off your notifications in case you're waiting for an important phone call. Remove certain phone apps if you need to as well.
Try to focus on the people in front of you. Those emails can wait another day, I promise.
9. BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN CITY
Are there any overcrowded and touristy hotspots in your city which you tend to avoid? You visit them every once in a while, but most of the time you steer clear of the area entirely?
Well, change it up this time and go to that overpriced coffee shop or tour the local museum. Pretend like you're a tourist, and maybe you'll even discover something new.
10. CAMP IN YOUR BACKYARD
Get out the tents and sleeping bags, and make S'mores around a campfire. You could even stargaze for a bit if the weather is just right.
This is likely the easiest camping you will ever experience, because it comes with modern amenities close by, and you don't even have to pack up the car!
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A STAYCATION?
Jolene is a wife, DIY addict & cat lover who writes from her home in Los Angeles. She adores everything historical & vintage, and could happily wander through a used book store for hours without even buying anything. Grab a cup of tea & feel free to visit her blog, which features unique home decor ideas, DIY project tutorials, and tips on budget living.