Do you remember going to the beach during your summer break when you were a kid? Do you remember hanging out with your friends and having lots of fun? I do remember those days; summer has always been my favorite time of the year.
As we transition into our adult lives we tend to spend less and less time doing things that we love, we don’t get to spend a whole month at the beach and even when we go on a vacation we often bring our work with us (phone calls, emails etc.) Even worse, sometimes we have to skip the vacation completely because of financial issues, the kids are too little to travel, or your spouse didn’t get vacation at the same time you did and so on.
Vacations are crucial to our health, well-being, general satisfaction with life, stress reduction and of course life balance (if you are looking for work/life balance then you can forget about it if you miss out on vacations.) Even if you can’t fit a trip to the beach into your budget this year you can still get all the benefits of a real vacation without leaving your house.
This year my husband and I had to give up our vacation trip but it didn’t stop us from having a great time. If you can’t go anywhere this year, if you can’t take more than a weekend off or if you just want to have the most incredible vacation ever, don’t let anything stop you. Here are 8 frugal and fun vacation ideas. Enjoy!
A word of caution: before you start your at-home vacation you need to get ready for it. Finish any house projects (cleaning, grocery shopping etc.), turn off your business cell and sign out of your email (you can even turn off the Internet router in your house completely), tell your co-workers that you are leaving town so that they don’t have a temptation to call you in case of an emergency.
Romantic vacation. Obviously this is a vacation for those who have already met their second half. During this vacation you can go out on as many romantic dates as possible (supper with candles, a walk in the park), you can spend as much time as possible without leaving the house or even your bedroom. If you have kids then of course you have to make arrangements with a babysitter. Do things together, go over your favorite memories (look at your wedding pictures or your video), make a list of things that you value the most in each other and don’t stop showing each other how much you love and care for each other. In our day-to-day life we often forget to be romantic or we simply do not have time for it, use this vacation to reignite the passion in your relationship or to strengthen the bond that you already have.
“Me” vacation. If you are single (or your partner can’t have a vacation at the same time with you) then make this week full of things that you enjoy doing. It’s difficult for me to think of what a guy would do during a “me” week (obviously, I am not a guy :-)) but I know of plenty of things for a girl to do. Make an appointment at a nearby spa (massage, facial, manicure, pedicure) or have a spa treatment at home (make some home-made masks and cleansers , watch your favorite movie while you are doing your manicure, take a long bubble bath). Go for a solo walk outside (a park or any natural environment will do), practice journaling to find a deep connection with your inner self .
Workaholic (masochistic) vacation. Don’t think that I am a weirdo but some people love to work until they drop during their vacation. Of course it is not your regular job, but it might be a big home improvement project, a garden project or some other manual labor. My grandmother is one of those people who just have to be doing something even when she is on vacation. I don’t understand this approach completely however if the idea of relaxing and enjoying “nothing” time sounds boring to you, then you can try this vacation. Tastes differ.
Foodie getaway. I love tasty food but I do not always have enough time to cook something special (and I resort to the all-time-favorite of spaghetti and marinara sauce). If you are like me then you can make this week a time for you to cook the most amazing recipes ever. Even if you do not like cooking then you can go out to a different restaurant every day of the week and try as many tasty dishes as you can eat (the consequences of this vacation to your waistline can be pretty detrimental, so approach it with moderation ).
Get-in-the-best-shape-of-your-life Bootcamp. Most of the time we procrastinate any lifestyle changes (adding more exercise, developing healthy habits) due to the lack of time or busy schedules. People pay big money (and I really mean BIG money) to go to special spas or retreats where they will learn to exercise, eat healthier and overcome bad habits. You can do everything that they are doing for free; you just need a little bit of discipline and determination, that’s it.
During this week make it a rule to work out every day trying different types of fitness. Choose a few healthy habits that seem most important to you right now and work on implementing them into your life. The most important rule here is to make everything feel like fun, add some rewards (massage, facial, etc.) and enjoy a healthier approach to life.
Discover your local attractions. Sometimes we underestimate all the fun things that can be done in our own city simply because we do not consider it as a vacation destination. Go online and find exciting things to do in your area (search for a visitor’s guide to your city or state) and rediscover your area.
New experiences. Do you have things on your mind that you have always wanted to try but never got around to actually doing them? Make this vacation a new experiment. Try barefoot running, try knitting, horse-back riding, gardening, cooking … There are always so many things worth trying but our busy lives always keep us from trying them. Try them now!
Kids-time fun. If you have kids then you can devote this week to them:
watch what they love (your child will enjoy a conversation with you much better when you can share their excitement about a new episode of Hannah Montana, Mickey Mouse clubhouse or even the Twilight Saga),
go on a picnic,
cook something together
this list is absolutely endless
Let your inner child out when you are playing with your children. Take a break from being a grown-up!
Are there any other ideas for frugal vacations? Of course, only your imagination is the boundary. Mix these ideas up, add something new, use them during your vacation trip and you will see how much fun you can have without even spending any money at all.
Vacation is not about going anywhere and spending lots of money (though this is the exact idea that our materialistic society is trying to nail into our minds). Vacation is the time for you to relax, to stop and just enjoy the slow movement of life, it is about forgetting about schedules and to-do lists as well as letting go of worries. It is time to breathe and rediscover your inner self.
Do you have any frugal vacation ideas? They are more than welcome in the comments below. BTW, feel free to share this article with your friends. Hopefully more people in this world will enjoy a more balanced every-day life and vacation.