By now, lots of kids are back in school and many people are starting to settle back into their post-summer work routines. But remember that we’re still in the midst of summer and it’s not too late to plan something fun…especially if that “something fun” is cheap and close to home.

Staycations are a great way to be a tourist in your own town and explore new things that are right in front of you. They’re also a budget-friendly way to get your travel fix because they typically involve seeking out fun tourist activities during the day and still sleeping in your own bed at night.

What is a Staycation?

Also known as holistays, staycations are a type of travel that’s great for families, couples, and individuals, and they’ve gained a lot of popularity in recent years. The emergence of staycations in our travel vocabulary has helped people on a budget realize that traveling to a faraway tropical resort isn’t the only way to escape everyday stresses.

Why Are Staycations So Popular?

Staycations reached their peak of popularity in the U.S. between 2007 and 2010 during the economic crisis. But even when times aren’t so tough, staycations are a great way to step outside your comfort zone and try new things without spending a fortune.

They involve less planning, less transportation, and less cost, while still taking you away from routine and creating the feeling of a traditional vacation. But for a true staycation, try to fully check out of work and normal household responsibilities to recharge yourself or spend some quality time with the ones you love.

Where to Find Staycation Opportunities

It’s common to do trip research when you’re planning a big vacation, so apply those research skills to your own hometown to create your own special staycation. Popular trip planning websites and apps like TripAdvisor and Yelp are good places to start. Pick up local newspapers and flyers about events happening around town and do a quick online search to learn about what tourists love to do in your area and whether those activities might be fun for you too.

Fun Staycation Ideas

- Visit local museums – local residents often can get discounts!

- Go to a nearby beach or community pool

- Go on a boat ride on a nearby lake

- Watch a play or musical performance

- Go out for themed dinner nights

- Sign up for a new kind of exercise class

- Catch a baseball game, whether major league, minor league, or little league

- Host a potluck or backyard barbeque

- Go to a local park, picnic and read a book

- Pick up a new activity (sport, music, arts & crafts, etc.)

Exploring the Outdoors Nearby

When you live in one place for a while, you may begin to take its beautiful nature and scenery for granted over time. One of the best ways to gain a renewed appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you is by getting outside and simply going for a hike nearby.

Choose a local, state, or national park in your area, or a recreation area that’s not too far away, and leave all your technological devices behind. Draw upon the power of your senses to experience new smells, see new sights, and feel new textures that have been here all along.

For some inspiration on where to find great day hikes in your area, check out websites likes traillink.com, trails.com, alltrails.com and americantrails.org.