How can I plan a fun "stay-cation"?

Stay In

The key to a stay-cation is making sure that it feels like a vacation, not like you're just hanging out at home. You don't have to stay in the whole time, of course, but if you are at home, what's the point of aimlessly surfing the Web all day or lying face-down on the sofa? If the point is to be frugal, there are plenty of at-home activities that won't break the bank -- or create a huge mess.

And -- dare we say it? -- unplugging, even just a little bit, is a great idea. Believe it or not, it is possible to have fun without computers, smartphones and TV. For example:

  • Camp out in the backyard. Don't forget the sticks to roast marshmallows for s'mores.
  • Have a home spa day for just the girls.
  • Plant a garden with the kids. Let each child choose something to plant.
  • Build your own drive-in theater and pick a movie that's new to everyone.
  • Dust off the board games and decks of cards. Twister, Clue and Uno are classics.
  • Have a cocktail party or a cookout. Socialize!

Here's another helpful tip: Don't do any chores. Do enough to keep the household afloat, of course, but steer clear of heavy cleaning or organizing (unless you find that kind of thing relaxing). If you're left with a gigantic mess after a few days, take some advice from our splurge section and hire a maid. You deserve it!

It's called a stay-cation, but that doesn't mean you have to stay at home. On the next page, we'll give you some ideas for excursions.