If you want the luxurious feeling of traveling abroad this summer with the peace of mind that comes with saving a ton of money, a budget-friendly staycation may be the answer you’re looking for. Now, just because you can’t book a family vacation this year without throwing off your credit card payment schedule doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways of having fun while staying put in and around town. In fact, with your credit card and an adventurous (yet frugal!) spirit, you can definitely learn how to save big on your summer staycation with these tried and true tips.
Parks and Recreation
Part of the reason that staycation ideas are so popular nowadays is the ever-rising cost of amusement park tickets. Even after redeeming your cache of cashback rewards points, entry to a theme park for a family of four can still set you back a few hundred dollars. Consider instead taking the time to explore your hometown and the attractions that draw others from around the world to it. You may find a thought-provoking exhibit at a local museum that will spark a conversation or want to take it slow at your local beaches for a few days. In either of those scenarios, you can look to your travel rewards credit card for everything from discounted entry passes to reduced parking prices. It may prove difficult to keep your little ones entertained at the museum, so you may want to take them on a picnic at a local city or state park instead to burn off all of that excess energy they still somehow have. A day trip to a local park will not only get your family active for the afternoon, but the peace and quiet you’ll get later at home when everyone is napping is equally sublime.
Next-Level Taco Tuesday
Aside from lodging and transportation, summer vacations are also notoriously pricey when it comes to the meals you’ll be eating at restaurants each day you’re away. A great way to save money while on a staycation and still get the excitement of trying something new is to cook with an unfamiliar ingredient at home. Instead of repurposing Monday’s leftover chicken for taco Tuesday, substitute in grilled nopales for a tasty veggie alternative. With a little seasoning, you too will fall in love with cactus tacos and give your coworkers something to talk about when you return to the office. Should your budget allow it, don’t hesitate to splurge just a little bit and support local family-owned restaurants that you may not normally eat at. By switching up your dining habits throughout your staycation, you’ll be exposing yourself to new flavors without necessarily breaking the bank. Another way to keep from breaking the bank is to use a cash back rewards credit card that earns you points when making purchases at these restaurants, so you won’t feel as guilty when ordering dessert.
Invest Your Savings
As you’ll be saving lots of money by staying in town on your staycation, you can afford to treat yourself to a few gourmet meals or even a weekend getaway at a local hotel or day spa for a nice change of pace. On a side note, if you do decide to venture to a nearby hotel, it’s the perfect opportunity to cash in all those points you’ve accumulated on your hotel travel rewards card throughout the year. Should you think that taking a day to yourself at the spa defeats the purpose of saving cash by going on a staycation, you can alternatively use all of that money not spent on mimosas to instead pay down your existing credit card debt. It’s not the most glamorous thing to do with your money, but not having to pay extra interest on your balance will at least make you feel like a million bucks. Instead of going to a hotel with the kids for a few days, make a few quick extra credit card payments via your smartphone, build a pillow fort in the living room with the kids, then settle in with a tablet and popcorn for an impromptu movie day. It’ll be an experience they’ll cherish and remember for decades to come. So long as you’re having fun with the people you care about, a carefully planned staycation can be just as memorable as any overtly expensive excursion. With the clever use of your cash back rewards credit cards and the points you’ve been saving up, it won’t even make a huge impact on your finances, so don’t trip.