When I'm not writing, I work a retail job in an affluent Virginia suburb. I often meet customers that have specifically come in to shop for vacations. I sometimes feel envious after hearing them casually talk about where they're staying in Greece, Hawaii, or Aruba. I love to explore new places and have always looked forward to family vacations. However, what I don't love is forking over my hard earned cash just to GET to said new places. I'm no miser, but I'm certainly not able to afford the luxurious vacations I see others taking here and there.
More and more we hear about budget-minded vacations, aptly named “staycations,” as an alternative to spending a chunk of change for a weeklong getaway. The itch to travel and explore new places can be satisfied by looking at fun options closer to home! Here are some ideas to consider when looking at planning your own “staycation.”
Check out Museums!
How long has it been since you took in a local museum? Here in Virginia there is a rich historical heritage dating back to the birth of our country. There is the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Museum of the Confederacy, and the Virginia Holocaust Museum for those of us who enjoy a bit of history. There is also the Virginia Fine Arts Museum and the Science Museum of Virginia which both host social events for locals. Another great museum-filled area is our nation's capital! There are a variety of different museums to be explored. A personal favorite is the Smithsonian. A budget-friendly idea is using the service Megabus to visit big cities like D.C., Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Most of us live near some sort of metropolis that has various cultural institutions. A quick web search or phone call could give you more information about exhibits and events going on near you!
Take in some scenery!
What about taking in some local sights or nature trails? A trip to a beach, river bank park, or state park with plenty of trails may be just the breath of fresh air you need. After working in an office cubicle or an indoor retail job, getting back to the great outdoors can be a wonderful way to relax and unwind. Many state parks offer fun activities for adults like kayaking day trips, guided nature walks, and often times, evening concerts. Grab a couple friends and see the greater outdoor aspects of your local area.
See the sights!
I bet none of us can say we have really seen everything our cities have to offer. Are there any local claims to fame? Maybe a local who made it big or a record-breaking collection of yarn? There are zoos and monuments in many cities, as well as some local shops who may boast a unique assortment of things. Many cities even offer walking or bus tours to guide you through highlights of the local sweet spots. Why not gather a couple buddies and see what a day about can do for your sense of adventure?
Check out local food and drink spots!
Where there's a crowd, there is someone feeding them! Websites like Yelp can give you a great inside scoop on the best cuisine. If you happen to be near a big enough city, you may reference Twitter and check out local food trucks for great on-the-go eats. A quick web search can tell you when and where the next one will be; make it more fun with some friends and do a shopping and food truck scavenger hunt! You can also scope out couponing websites like Groupon for great deals on local spots. Another great idea is to check out the great breweries and wineries in the area. More often than not, such places offer tours and tastings for just a few bucks. Local favorite Hardywood Brewery here in Richmond even hosts events you can be a part of! You can sample local food and beer and relax with friends on a great weekend afternoon!
As you can see, this is just a sampling of ideas to get your “staycation” started. You deserve that time off, but you don't deserve to go broke doing it. All you need is a few ideas, a little research, some equally adventurous friends, and you're on your way to a great time!
Photos from Google.