Home > Personal Finance > 8 Activities to Plan Now for a Fun and Budget-Friendly Fall Staycation

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The coronavirus pandemic caused many people to cancel travel plans around the world. You might’ve already had to cancel a family vacation or two. But not being able to travel doesn’t mean there aren’t things to plan for fun at home–beyond your typical game night. You and your family can recharge without ever leaving your hometown.

Staycations allow you to enjoy engaging activities with your family and save money. Plan a fun-filled staycation right now with our list of eight budget-friendly and local activities. 

But, stay on the safe side-make sure that you wear your mask and practice social distancing while out in public. And if coronavirus cases are high in your hometown, you might want to forgo the more public activities and stick to things you can do in your home. 

8 Things to Plan for Fun Near Home

1. Be a tourist in your city

When travel numbers are down, it’s often an ideal time to visit local attractions. You may have forgotten about the landmarks and architecture that make your nearby city, small town or rural area special. Consider diving into the local history and exploring famous buildings or locations. You’ll not only save money on accommodations and travel but also fall in love with the area you live in again.

2. Turn your house into a spa

Turn your house into a relaxing oasis and experience ultimate comfort without leaving your home. Family members can make homemade facial masks and refreshing smoothies with berries or seasonal fruit. Other activities to plan include making a nutritious menu for the entire day and putting together a calming music playlist. Reenergize your family by utilizing some of the comfort features that exist inside your house.

3. Rent a short-term vacation rental

A short trip to escape the city, your heavily populated suburb or your quiet town can be just the refreshing staycation you need. Depending on where you live, consider renting a property on the beach or a cabin near any natural park. If you already live somewhere rural, consider taking a weekend trip to the closest big city.

Book a rental with a nice kitchen, and you and your family can make a delicious dinner together. You can also support local businesses by ordering delivery or takeout. You can find many vacation properties that fit your budget.

4. Go camping

There are 421 national park sites in the United States covering more than 84 million acres. Spending time in nature is a great family activity when you need to accommodate social distancing, and camping might be an ideal vacation activity. Fresh air and beautiful natural surroundings can be a nice change of pace for you and your family. You can safely stay inside your social bubble, cook your own food and explore the scenery around you.

There are so many things to plan for fun on a camping trip. Make s’mores, go fishing, take a hike or tell stories around the campfire. Also, consider bird-watching or collecting different types of leaves or rocks. Being in an outdoor environment can encourage the development of new hobbies and provide a restful break.

5. Plan a culinary “trip” around the world

While you might not travel to Italy or Japan, you can go on a culinary trip around the world by supporting local restaurants. Now is the perfect time to experiment with international cuisines and order a type of food you’ve never eaten. You can experience fine dining from all over the world in the comfort of your own home. 

You can even plan a fun activity with your family that corresponds to the meal. Watch a film or documentary about the country your meal originates from or make a playlist including music from that region. If your dinners inspire family members, consider opening a savings account to save for a vacation to one of those countries in the future.

6. Visit a museum

Many local museums created policies to support safety and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re looking to do something fun during the pandemic or a more normal time, you can enjoy relaxing and informative days exploring art, history or science at local museums or galleries. You can browse a variety of museums in America to find one near you.

7. Have a picnic

Picnics are another opportunity to experience a relaxing day while eating good food. Pack family favorites and find a nice, shady spot outside. Consider planning the whole day in the park. Bring frisbees or a soccer ball to play with, and picnic under a group of trees for shade and comfort.

8. Hike or bike

Many cities have bike-share options if you don’t have enough bikes, but don’t forget to bring hand sanitizer. Many scenic bike paths around the country are perfect for a sunset ride. Hiking trails offer another chance to explore your natural surroundings. These picturesque landscapes are also the perfect backdrop for taking timeless photos.

Budgeting for a Staycation

Staycations don’t have to be expensive, and there are plenty of things to plan for fun that are completely free. When planning your staycation, make a budget and stick with that amount. Try vacation rental sites such as Airbnb or Sonder for deals on accommodations. To budget your staycation:

  • Make a budget with a budgeting app to simplify the process
  • Create a plan of activities to do on your staycation
  • Research the cost of the items on your list
  • Add the total and swap activities to fit your budget

Plan Your Staycation Today

There are several exciting things to plan for fun during the coronavirus pandemic or anytime. And in normal times, you can trade the fun of your hometown for the fun of someone else’s with a traditional getaway. Save money for future vacations without sacrificing the benefits that come with taking time off.

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