All work and no play has one result: burnout. But going on vacation with a small budget? These days, it’s not going to happen. While a trip to an exotic location or overseas travel might not be in the budget, that doesn’t mean you can’t find fun right down the street to fill your time off. That’s where a staycation comes in.

Staycation is short for stay-at-home-vacation. The idea has been around for a while but has become increasingly popular as the costs of gas and the hassles of air travel have both gotten out of control. Long delays, decreasing leg room, poor accommodations - they’ve all left vacationers feeling like they need a vacation.

If you’re looking for a temporary getaway without the costs or hassles of getting away, we’ve put together a list of ideas to fill your off-time with affordable fun. Use these tips as a jumping off point to making the most of your staycation!


Backyard Camping

Growing up, did you ever set up a makeshift tent in the backyard? It was an adventure then - and it can be, now! You don’t need any fancy camping equipment to rough it. Grab some sleeping bags or blankets, gear up with smores and firewood, and spend the evening around the fire telling scary stories or singing silly songs with the kids. You can even make it a romantic evening under the stars with your significant other. Just don’t forget the bug spray!

If being out in the elements doesn’t sound like the kind of romantic getaway you’re looking for, a little creativity and cash will get you a night of Glamping - or glamorous camping. Check out this article for tips to making the perfect glampsite in your own backyard.


Family Game Night

In the age of technology, an often-forgotten pastime is the old board game. Whether it’s a classic like Monopoly or a fast-paced card game of Uno, you can gather with friends or family around the living room table for a fun night in. Add some snacks and drinks to keep everyone happy as the competition heats up. You might just have so much fun, you make a thing of it every month.


Library Visit

Did you know your local library has so much more than books? Sure, you probably know about the magazines and newspapers that can be read. But what about movies to borrow? Many libraries have access to digital movies for rent - often times at lower rates than RedBox, with more time to watch. Visit your library’s website to see what movies they have available for check-out or download, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the comfort of watching a movie in your own home.

Libraries also often host free weekly or monthly events that offer kid-friendly fun mixed with learning. Most libraries offer an event calendar online; while you’re reviewing the movie options, check out the event calendar for some educational fun.


Virtual Museum Tour

Who says you can’t experience world-renowned museums right from your living room? No one should, anymore. This is one area technology has really improved, in the form of virtual tours. From Paris’ Louvre to The Smithsonian, major museums have put a lot of time and effort into giving you a great online experience. Learn about famous paintings, study well-known statues, and expand your mind with engaging lessons in art history. Afterward, you may find yourself sipping lattes and discussing the tragedy of Van Gogh’s life.


Dinner and a Movie

Movies at the theater are getting more and more expensive - unless you know the work-arounds. There are two approaches you can take to lower the cost of seeing the latest blockbuster. One, go during matinee hours (earlier in the day); tickets are usually around half the price. Two, consider getting the package deal. Many theaters now offer monthly subscriptions that just two regular-priced tickets a month would cover. If you’re a big movie buff, option two is definitely the choice to make. Save even more by eating prior to the movie so you’re not tempted to grab the overpriced popcorn and snacks at the counter.


Local Festival

One pastime that’s a favorite for many is your local festival. Depending on when you take your staycation, there are dozens of festivals that take place in cities across the country. And you don’t have to go digging into the bowels of Facebook to find festivals in your area. Just use free websites like Festival.com to search for upcoming events in your area.

But it’s not just festivals you can attend. Pop-up markets, food truck Friday’s, free concerts in the park - these are events that can fill up a whole weekend with fun. Just do a quick online search for “things to do in [city name]” to find your city’s current events.


The Great Outdoors

Reconnecting with nature is not just a “hippie” mentality. Many studies show that a walk through the woods has a positive impact on our well-being. But you don’t have to go to the woods or just walk in order to immerse yourself in nature. Biking trails, fishing lakes, campgrounds, and swimming holes all offer a unique, cheap way to get outside and soak up your happy. Pack a cooler with food and drinks for a day trip - and don’t forget the camera!


Stay-at-Home Splurges

Just because you don’t have the money for a big trip doesn’t mean you don’t have a few bucks to splurge on your staycation. Your time off is supposed to be about doing something for you and your family, right? Go to a concert, cheer on your favorite minor or major league team at the game, or spend a day at the spa. Small luxuries can be a reality if you set a budget and plan it right.


Whatever you do on your staycation - make the most of it by getting creative! Plan it the same way you would an away vacation, and you’re sure to blow off the steam you need to avoid burning out. Have fun! And if you need a little extra cash, LendNation is here to help any time with a title loan, installment loan, or payday loan online or in-store!