Best Summer Staycation Ideas When You’re on a Budget

September 20, 2019

A recent LendingClub survey revealed nearly 20% of our members are still paying off last year’s summer vacation expenses. And of those who are planning to hit the road this summer, 30% will put their travel expenses on a credit card, while 40% plan to raid an emergency fund or savings account. Since the average family spends about $1200 per person per year on vacations, paying for that vacation on a credit card could ruin your fun.

So if you’re already feeling hemmed in by your budget, you don’t have to take an expensive trip to make great summer memories. Why not try a staycation instead?

What is a staycation?

A staycation is all about finding ways to rest, relax, and enjoy yourself without venturing too far from home. You sleep in your own bed and avoid the expense of hotels, dining out, and gasoline, in addition to the crowds, traffic, and travel headaches. Here’s how to make your next vacation a stacation with these best summer staycation ideas.

Try out our best summer staycation ideas your budget will love.

1. Opt outside.

When you’re calendar’s jammed with work and school activities, you may not have time to visit all the public outdoor spaces your local area has to offer. From climbing walls and swing sets to petting zoos and botanical gardens, you might find something new that’s just a short car trip—or even a walk or bike ride away. Pack a picnic and visit your local park or check out our national park system.

2. Visit a museum.

Many museums have free admissions at least one or two days out of the month. Or find a gallery showcasing local artists right in your own hometown. Some arts organizations even put on free, interactive events for children and adults. Learn the methods of the masters in painting, pottery, or collage.

3. Go to Harvard.

That’s right. Nowadays there is a wide selection of free classes online. And what could be more relaxing than grabbing a lemonade and a backyard hammock while indulging your curiosity about nutrition, artificial intelligence, or sailing? You can even take courses from elite schools like Harvard for next to nothing. Plus, self-paced learning is not only convenient, it can often be more fun than being stuck in a classroom.

4. Start a side hustle.

Self-employment guru Barbara Winter has popularized the idea of the $100 hour. Why not use an hour of your time off to brainstorm things you can do to bring in $100. You might come up with an idea that lets you turn a passion into a business down the road.

5. Learn a new skill.

Why not make this the summer you learn a skill that can save you money all year round? If you go out to eat a lot, learn to cook. If your jeans rip, learn how to patch them up. Or instead of paying a service to groom your dog, learn how to trim, clip, brush, bathe, and dry Fido like an expert.

6. Reconnect with a friend.

Following folks on Facebook is an okay way to stay connected when life’s busy. But while you’ve got the time, pick up the phone, invite your friends and plan a fun summer pot luck party. Or if a party sounds like too much work, get out some decorative paper and handwrite a letter.

7. See a matinee.

Most movie theaters offer discounted pricing in the early afternoon, at times when people are usually at work or school. Check out this handy list of ways to score low-cost movie tickets.

Next time, stay on budget with a staycation.

A staycation can be a great time to lay a foundation for not only some rest and relaxation, but for saving money (and sticking to your budget), earning extra cash, and gaining a greater appreciation for your hometown. And if you need help paying off last year’s big expensive trip, a personal loan can help you pay it down faster and at a lower cost.

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