This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
So what is a staycation exactly? It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Instead of jumping on planes, trains and automobiles to go on vacation, you take your vacation at home.
The benefits for your budget are fantastic! Maybe you don’t have the funds this year to take a vacation. With a staycation, you can still have a fun and relaxing time without spending the next year trying to regain all the money you spent.
Or maybe you do have money, but you would rather make it stretch farther. Imagine how many new pairs of shoes, or massages you get for the price of one sacrificed plane ticket?
What can you do on a staycation?
If you are worried that a staycation sounds boring, don’t be. You just need to get creative, and fill your days with whatever is most fun, or relaxing to you. No matter what, you don’t have to go to work and that makes any staycation idea the ultimate!
Try these staycation ideas to make the most of your budget-friendly time off. Plus, check out some other tips to make your staycation special below the list!
Staycation ideas to vacation at home on a Budget
Try these ideas for a staycation and have fun on a budget in your own home.
1. Pretend you are a tourist in your own town
We all get in a rut. We get used to where we are and think we’ve seen it all.
But the truth is, there are probably some cool museums to explore, shows to see, or dive bars you’ve never been to in your own town.
Make a list of all the possible activities in your own city that and pick your favorites to do. There may be a lot of fun local attractions that you’ve never even tried.
2. Plan new outings each day
One idea for a staycation is to plan a different and new activity for each day. Especially if you are having a week long staycation.
Take a paint and drink class. Go to a local fair. Attend a concert. Go to a local museum. Planning fun activities for each day will help keep things fun.
3. Have a spa staycation day (or two)
This is one of my favorite staycation ideas! There is nothing more relaxing than a spa day. And since you aren’t spending a bunch of money on a hotel room or a flight, you can splurge at the spa.
In other words: massage, mani-pedi, facial. It’s all up for grabs with the money you’ve saved to take advantage!
If you can’t afford a spa day, then just create your own at home. A hot bubble bath and some champs can go along way to the ultimate staycation relaxation. You can even do your own at-home facials.
4. Go camping locally
Camping is another inexpensive and fun staycation idea. If there is a beautiful spot within driving distance of you, take a day or two to camp. It allows you to still get out of the house for your staycation, but still not spend extra dough.
You can even plan on camping in your own backyard if you have kids! Just don’t forget to make the S’mores.
If you are not a fan of spending the night in a tent (I’m not!), then just go for a hike at a local park or a canoe ride and spend some time in that beautiful spot.
Nature can be therapeutic, and any staycation is about recharging from work and the stresses of life. So, the more you can get back to Mother Nature, the better.
5. Take a tour of restaurants
One advantage of a staycation is that since you are saving so much money, you can still spend some at home in ways you don’t ordinarily do.
You can do a food tour of your city and try out several different restaurants. Or maybe you go to a different place each day for dessert!
Look for groupons or local deals you can take advantage of to make your staycation money go even farther.
You could also just pretend you are in college again and do a pub crawl!
6. Try a local brewery or winery
if there is a local winery or brewery, build a trip to it into your staycation plan. This is an activity that can make you feel like you are out of town. Exploring local, cool and fun spots should be built into your staycation for sure.
7. Splurge on something
Again, you have saved a lot of money by choosing a staycation, vacation at home. So maybe take a little and spend it on something you wouldn’t normally. I’m not saying go out and buy a new Maserati, but treat yourself to something.
Maybe it’s a massage, or a new outfit, or maybe you want to hire a professional cleaner for your home. One of the best staycation ideas is to spend a little money on yourself.
8. Stay at a local hotel
If you have a little money to spend on your staycation, think about staying one or two nights in a local hotel.
It will definitely feel like a real vacation, but should cost less. Have drinks in the bar, spend the day hanging out at the pool and order room service!
You can also look into luxury hotels nearby and see if you can swing that. Could be a romantic night if you are a couple.
9. Throw a party
If you have to spend your vacation at home, think about throwing a big party! You could pick a theme and have lots of food, drink and activities.
You might even have enough money to hire a dj. Make it a block party. Invite all your friends and neighbors for a night out.
10. Take advantage of free events
Another one of our best staycation tips is to take advantage of free local events. There may be tons of fun, free things going on that you just aren’t aware of.
Even just listening to live music in a nearby bar can be fun and free! See if there are local art shows, music or any other type of free events to take advantage of.
11. Try something new
Part of the fun of a vacation is going someplace new. Trying new restaurants or tourist attractions. But a staycation can work the same way!
If you are looking for staycation ideas, this one should help guide you. Figure out what is new to you in your town, or within a day’s drive.
Maybe there’s a Michelin star restaurant you haven’t tried, or a plantation museum to visit. In all likelihood, there are things to do in your own town that you haven’t tried.
So start exploring!
12. Plan outings with friends
One advantage of a stay at home vacation is all your friends and family are close by. Plan on an outing or an event with a group of friends.
Maybe it will cut the cost down on going someplace close. If you are single, you could book a hotel room with a bunch of friends.
Not only will it feel like a vacation, but it won’t cost nearly as much!
13. Check out a nearby city
Is there a city within driving distance of yours? Maybe just a couple hours away? Plan on spending the day and exploring a different city.
Go shopping, go out to eat and check out tourist spots just like you are on a vacation! You could also consider booking a hotel for one night in a different city.
14. Create your own beach day
Just because you can’t afford to go to an exotic beach somewhere, doesn’t mean you can’t still experience it!
Look for a local, or driving distance lake that could work for a beach day. Or if that isn’t an option then find a local pool.
Pack food and drinks, put on that teeny weeny, yellow polka-dot bikini and grab a good book. A staycation can still have a beach or pool day. Just make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen!
Things you need for a staycation beach day:
- Backpack cooler for food and drinks
- Sunscreen to protect your skin
- A portable lounge chair for comfortable sunbathing
- A good book like Tell No One
15. Watch Netflix and chill
Ok yeah, I know this means something else. But either way, this is a good staycation activity. Maybe you are worn out from your job and the responsibilities of your life.
So just take a whole day to stay in your pajamas and binge on Netflix or whatever your favorite streaming service is. (There’s only a million of them now!) Order food in so you don’t even have to cook.
16. Try a new hobby or take a class
Use your staycation at home to learn something new. Like a hobby or maybe even a new way to make money.
You could take a cooking class. Or a woodworking class. You could try dance, art, or even a new language. Look at local adult education classes and workshops.
You can even take classes online, I absolutely love and recommend MasterClass which has tons of classes from experts in all different types of fields and subjects.
17. Spend the day at an amusement park
This is an especially good idea for a staycation if you have kids. Figure out an amusement or water park that is within driving distance and make a day of it.
Ride roller coasters and make yourself sick on funnel cakes. It will be a day for the whole family to remember!
18. Plan a game night
This staycation idea may be more appropriate if you have children. But plan a game night with several board games for the whole family to play.
Or better yet, create a neighborhood scavenger hunt with a prize!
19. Have a movie day or night
Plan on binge watching movies all day or all night. You can also go see more than one actual movie at the movie theatre.
If you have kids, they certainly love going to the movies.
20. Make a weekend getaway
If your budget is somewhere in-between a week-long getaway to the Caribbean and a stay-at-home and spend nothing vacation, maybe you can opt for a weekend trip.
Find a place that you can drive to and book a weekend at a nice hotel or an AirBnb.
You can still spend the rest of your staycation at home, but this way you are getting a little mini-vacation in the normal fashion. A romantic, weekend is is the right staycation idea for couples and maybe a resort-night for singles.
And, you may even be able to find a super cheap flight off season and travel a little further.
21. Have your cake and eat it too
One way to make your staycation special is to make sure you indulge yourself. Break your diet for the week and eat whatever you want.
Make birthday cake every day if that’s your thing. Eat cookies for breakfast, don’t do the dishes.
Just find ways to enjoy yourself outside of the normal routine of your life. If you enjoy baking, check out Half Baked Harvest for some delicious recipes.
22. Attend Concerts or Plays
There are likely some great concerts in your town. Or plays and musicals! Buy tickets to some fun events and include them as part of your stay at home vacation.
You could combine it with eating out at your favorite restaurant for a special night.
Here are some more general ideas to make your staycation memorable.
23. Go to a sporting event
It may have been a long time since you’ve gone to an in-person sporting event. But they can be fun!
Especially if tailgating is involved. Get a group of friends together for a night of tailgating and attend a football game.
Or basketball, hockey or even soccer. Whatever sporting event is available make a night of it.
24. Turn your home into a resort
Change your home to be more like a resort. Set up tiki torches and string lights in the backyard.
Put out flowers and extra plants. Pick a theme. Like Hawaiian or Italian. You can fill the house with things related to the theme and make it feel like you are in another place.
If you chose a Hawaiian theme, buy leis, umbrellas for your drinks and Hawaiian shirts to wear. Buy drink mixes that are tropical so you can have cocktails.
You could choose a Paris theme as well! If you are really feeling adventurous and have some extra money, have a fire pit installed to enjoy!
25. Declutter your house or finish a project
Ok, this is not the most fun suggestion. But, maybe there is something you’ve really been wanting to do to your house but haven’t had the time to.
Getting it done during your stay at home vacation might feel really good! And it might be something you could enjoy for the rest of the year.
Improve your patio, paint your outdoor furniture, plant a garden or clear out all the clutter from your home.
How can you make a staycation special?
Here are some staycation tips to make it fun, special and memorable!
Prep your house before-hand.
Have a cluttered, messy house will not feel good or relaxing. Walking into a pristine, fresh hotel room is one aspect of vacation that makes it special.
So before you start your staycation, make your house is the same as a hotel would be. Opt for a professional house cleaner if your budget allows so you don’t have to do the work yourself!
It could be the first splurge of your staycation.
do something special to your house
To really make your staycation special, make some adjustments to your home. Add fresh-cut flowers everywhere. String up white lights indoors and out. This party guide tells how to create special lighting in your home.
Fill the house with candles. Just think of ways to make your house seem like a new place, and more hotel-like. If you have to stay home for vacation, there’s no reason you can’t make it feel like a resort!
make things easier for the week
Your staycation should be relaxing. It should still be your chance to not have as much responsibility for the week. So do whatever you can to make that happen. Don’t fall into the normal routines of cleaning, cooking and helping with homework.
Order food delivery or go out to eat every night! At the minimum have your groceries delivered. If you don’t have the funds for dinners out, try a meal prep service like Hello Fresh. Most will give you an introductory offer that is discounted.
Hire a house-cleaner. Whatever you can do to remove work and stress from your plate will go a long to way to making your staycation feel like a vacation.
Staycation ideas for singles
- Spend the day at a spa
- Take a day trip
- Visit a museum or local landmark
- Spend the night at a spa resort
- Stay in your pajamas all day watching Netflix
- Go hiking
- Try new restaurants or visit a winery
- Throw a party
- Go on an outing with friends
- Splurge on something
- Eat whatever you want for the week
- Try a new hobby or take a cooking class
Staycation Ideas for Couples
- Do a food tour of local restaurants in your city
- Plan special date nights
- Take a joint local spa day
- Book a local Airbnb or hotel
- Take a cooking class together
- Go away for the weekend somewhere close by
- Go camping or hiking
- Have a picnic at a local park
- Create your own room service by ordering food delivery
- Do a pub crawl
- Take a beach day
What Should families do on a staycation?
- Go to an amusement park
- Spend the day at a water park
- Go camping
- Plan a game night
- Go to a nearby lake for a beach day
- Spend the day at a pool
- Plan a picnic
- Go shopping
- Book a local AirBnb, especially one with a pool!
- Set up a sprinkler pad or water slick in the backyard
- Plan a scavenger hunt
- Go canoeing on a nearby river or lake
- Try laser tag or paintball
Frequently Asked Staycation Questions
What would you do on a staycation at Home?
There is no reason a staycation at home can’t be fun. If you need to save money, opt for a staycation instead of a vacation.
Here are some things to do on a staycation:
- Try something new like a course or hobby
- Have an at home spa day
- Go to a local spa (with the money you saved on not traveling)
- Visit local tourist attractions
- Go out to eat at more than one restaurant
- Take advantage of free local events like live music
- Stay in your pajamas and watch Netflix or movies all day
- Book a local Airbnb for a weekend
- Take a cooking class
- Go hiking or camping
How do you Make a Staycation Feel Like a Vacation?
You can do things to make your staycation special, and to make it feel like an actual vacation.
You just need to be creative!
Here are some ways to make a staycation feel like a vacation:
Plan out special activities in advance:
You can make your staycation at home feel like a vacation by planning out special activities. Like going to tourist spots in your city you’ve forgotten about. Or making reservations at a fancy restaurant. Taking a local date night cooking class. There are lots of ideas and activities you can plan!
Make your house feel special and different:
Put string white lights up. Or put candles out everywhere. And definitely make sure you clean your house before your staycation to make it feel more like a hotel. With all the money you are saving by not taking a vacation, you can pay a house cleaner to make it perfect!
Do something new:
Part of the fun of a vacation is you are in a new and different place, doing new and different things. But you can do this on a staycation as well!
Find things to do or places to go in your own hometown that you haven’t done before. Try a new restaurant or take a class in something.
How Do You Plan a Fun Staycation?
First of all don’t wait until the last minute! Planning a fun staycation requires some advance thinking and preparation.
Make sure you budget and put aside some money that you can spend. Since you will be saving a ton of money not taking a vacation, you should still be able to spend a little.
Plan out some fun and different activities in advance. Make reservations at local eateries and buy concert tickets if that’s part of your plan.
Prep your house in advance by making sure it is clean and special!
How to Budget for a Staycation
While you are saving a ton of money by taking a staycation instead of a vacation, you still want to have some money to spend to make your staycation special and fun.
So saving up the money in advance will help!
Here are some ways to budget for your staycation:
- Plan out your activities in advance and figure out how much they will cost
- Look for coupons and special deals you can use for going out to eat or other paid activities
- Figure out ways to save extra money to use for a fun staycation
- Try to make some extra money on the side
If your money is tight and you can’t afford a vacation, you can still have a fun vacation at home on a budget!
A staycation can actually be more relaxing than a vacation. Even if you have the money, you might consider opting for a stay at home vacation this year!
We hope you can use this list of fun staycation ideas. There are plenty of ways to make a staycation special, fun and out of the ordinary!