How to Plan a Staycation: Take Some Time Off Without Breaking the Bank!

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Many of us have already heard the bad news; flight and gas prices are not expected to be very “vacation friendly” this summer. I’m sure this is not going to help the fact that the United States is now being dubbed to as the “no vacation nation”. A recent study  showed that 57% of the American workforce had unused vacation at the end of 2011. Yikes!

One of the reasons that some Americans are not taking vacation is that the high flight and gas prices alone do not fit within their budget. This is certainly not a good thing since the rest and family time provided by a vacation can really do wonders for one’s health and sanity.

The good news is that even if you cannot afford a vacation this summer, you just might be able to make a “staycation” work! A staycation is similar to a vacation, except you get to pass on the flight tickets, long road-trip gas costs and hotel expenses. Here are some of my tips on how you can plan a successful staycation for your family this year.

Plan your staycation just as you would a vacation.
Just because you are not going to be traveling a long distance, there is still some definite planning to do for a staycation. This may include: taking off of work (yep-that is the whole point ;)), unplugging the TV and computers, turning off your cell phone or sending the kids to grandma’s house for the week. Certainly, these are not going to all be possible for everyone, but keep in mind that the more you treat your staycation like a vacation the more successful it will be.

Set a budget.
Although you will not be spending the big bucks on flight tickets, it is still important to set a budget. Determine what dollar amount fits within your budget and use that as your guide as you plan for your staycation.

Select a theme for your staycation.
One of the most difficult things about planning a staycation is thinking of creative things to do. This is where a theme can really come in handy. Select a theme that your family is interested in and then seek out activities that fit within that theme. Here are a few ideas to get you started. For those of you who are not in Colorado, you can use these as a guide and find similar things to do in your local area.


Use daily deal websites to find discounted adventures and theme park tickets.

Daily deal websites can be fantastic for getting rock bottom bargains on everything from amusement park tickets, outdoor adventures, dining out and more!

Do you plan to take a staycation this year? Share with us in the comments section!


  1. Kristin L. says

    Just saw the notes about the candy factories….Maroon Bells has their factory store in Lone Tree now off Park Meadows. They will give a free tour if you call to arrange it. We did that and it was facinating. They sell their chocolates and ice cream there, too, so we had a yummy treat afterward.

  2. Jennifer says

    We have a mini family reunion at the end of July beginning of August and are all meeting up in Vail at a large house we have all rented together. We live in Montrose, the rest of the family all lives out of state. Anyone know of any cheap fun family things to do around that area? We are going to Glenwood Adventure Park for one day.

    • says

      Weekly Plus has a deal on tickets to the Glenwood Adventure Park right now, so you may want to check that out. I went last summer…it was a blast.

  3. Hazel says

    There are also some places around town that have some freebies – here are two that are close to my heart (and hind end) since they are candy related:

    Hammond’s Candies has Free Candy & Factory Tours (Denver)
    Patsy’s Candies has Free Chocolate & Factory Tours (Colorado Springs)

    There is also a nifty little website or phone app (free) in case you want to take a virtual tour around a brochure rack to see if there are other attractions you may be interested in. The site is visitortipsdotcom. You can pick the town, state, whatever and just look at things to do in that area.

    I’m a loon, don’t like to go anywhere – I just really like to stay home and putz around, so I’m more than thrilled to partake in staycations! Besides I miss the wee fuzzballs too much when I’m away from them.

    • says

      These are great ideas Hazel! Thanks for sharing. Maybe you could take a “cat” themed vacation and bring the fuzzballs along with you. 😉

      • Elizabeth says

        There are a few hotels in Glenwood Springs that allow pets too. :) So you might not have to leave the fuzzballs at home.

        • Hazel says

          It’s a wonderful idea. Unfortunately I go nutso just listening to them on the way to the vets office. Maybe if I got a porta DVD player and let them watch Ben or Willard or Ratatouille they’d be quiet. Nah, who am I kidding?

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