Save Your Money and Staycation!

9 July 2012

You may be tempted to book off all of your vacation days and catch the next flight to Cancun right about now, but have you ever considered staycationing instead?  Let’s remember that the point of a vacation is to relax, regroup, and forget about work for a few days. But when you’re paying top dollar to go to an all-inclusive paradise for 5 nights, you might find that getting your money’s worth at the buffet, bar, and heated pool ranks significantly higher than reading a book all day or taking an afternoon nap. You may also feel pressured to go on a few excursions while you’re there, costing you even more money for a four-hour bus ride, a nasty sunburn, and a few snapshots of some ruins you’ll forget the name of on the flight back home.

If this doesn’t convince you to save your money and stay home, why not consider the weather during the rest of the year. The summer months in Canada are like a double rainbow, beautiful but rare. This is the best time to stay local and play tourist in your own city, so it might be a good idea to hold off skipping town until you hear the words cold front and icy mix coming out of your weatherman’s mouth.

To avoid having your staycation turn into a week of doing chores and watching re-runs of Ellen, you need to make a plan and set some boundaries. You may be staying at home but this is still a holiday and should be treated as such. First off, do all of your chores the night before your vacation officially kicks off, and then don’t touch that burgeoning basket of laundry or Sweeper-Vac until it’s over. Secondly, make a budget. It doesn’t have to be much, but set aside some fun money to play with. Last but not least, outline a plan on how you wish to use your days off. If all you want to do is put your feet up, drink some homemade summer cocktails, and re-watch every season of Gilmore Girls, you go girl! If you want to finally check out all of those cool pubs your friends keep talking about, start marking down places on a map and check them off once you’ve visited them. If you have no idea what to do with all of your free time, perhaps some of these staycation ideas might help you decide what to do:

For the foodies – How many times have you walked by that line-up of food carts downtown only to say to yourself you’ll try them out some other time? Well that time is now! If you are a true food lover, why not spend your holiday doing a food crawl. Each day could be a different part of the world, and to indulge that sommelier inside you, pair each meal with a different type of wine.

For the recovering shopaholics – To all of you who are still paying down your credit cards from a shopping spree a few years ago, just because your shopaholic days are over doesn’t mean you can’t do a bit of shopping at the local boutiques. Just make sure to set a strict budget and make a list of what you’ll allow yourself to buy, such as one pair sandals or one new dress shirt. Better yet, why not simply enjoy a nice afternoon window-shopping; it won’t cost you a dime and it’s guilt-free too.

For the bookworms – Grab your blanket, an ice capp, and head on down to your local park for a relaxing day of reading a good book. If you don’t want to spend your entire vacation under the sun’s rays, why not get lost in your local library or dare I say it, attempt to write something yourself.

For the cinephiles – Although I do think summer should be spent largely outside, when it gets dark there’s no better way to enjoy an evening than to watch a film. Whether you’re having a movie marathon at your house, catching a foreign flick at the cinemateque, or going to see one of the free outdoor screenings in your area, don’t forget to bring your own snacks!

For the outdoorsy-types – If you love the outdoors, then it’s probably a good thing you live in Canada. You can do almost all outdoor activities for next to nothing, not to mention getting your summer body back at the same time.

What do you do when you staycation?

(Image credits: Rishi Menon)


  • Tracy
    I have four young children (ages 5 yrs & under) so it can become quite costly for all of us to go out of town on a holiday. This year we will likely have several mini 'staycations' & I'm betting our kids will be just as happy as if we went somewhere. First they will get some dedicated family time. Second, fortunately we live in Edmonton so there is lots for us to do....Capital Ex, West Edmonton Mall (water park and Galaxyland), the zoo, various spray parks, picnics in various parks, outdoor pools, Heritage Days, day trip to the beach at Pigeon Lake, etc.
    • Jessica M.
      When you have a young family, I think the most important thing about a holiday is definitely that dedicated family time. Especially when they are young all they want to do is have fun with family and that can really happen anywhere, even at home or setting up camp in your backyard. I remember when I was a kid with my two sisters, when we were younger we did lots of mini-staycations during the summer and sometimes they were more memorable then going on a road trip somewhere.
  • Shelly
    Our family of 4 went to Disney World in Sept. 2010. It was an amazing trip and worth every penny. But its not something we can do every year. We are hoping to go again next year or the year after. We love our staycations. As long as there is a beach or pool where we are staying, our kids (2 girls age 7 and 11) don't care where we are. Living in Newfoundland means there is water everywhere!!! We try to visit a different part of Newfoundland every summer. My husband's work was usually very busy in the summer and we only went somewhere on a scattered weekend. Last summer; well here in Newfoundland last year we didn't really have But we did spend 2 long weekends with the kids away from home. We went to Twillingate area and spent another weekend at a beach. We already have lots of plans for this summer and none them cost a fortune, but will be worth more than every penny spent. :)
  • Jessica M.
    I've always wanted to go to Disney World or Disneyland. Those two places are definitely on my bucket list :) What a great idea to visit new places in your own province, especially Newfoundland, it looks so beautiful there!
  • Krista W.
    I love this post! We are a family of 4 and vacations can be expensive. We love camping and it is always fun to have a family camping night in the back yard. That was one of my favorite memories as a kid!
    • Jessica M.
      I used to love camping in my backyard as a kid, it was so much fun!
  • Anna W.
    Having just bought my first house, I have no money for a vacation this year! Staycations for the win :) Thanks for the post Jessica :)
    • Jessica M.
      I haven't bought a house but I went on quite a few trips last year so it's gonna be a staycation summer for me this year. Thanks! :)

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