When you’re on a tight budget, Spring Break may be a sore subject with your family. While everyone else gets to jet-set to sunny destinations, you’re stuck at home, doing nothing.
Only, the question is, do you really have to do nothing just because you don’t have a fortune to spend on airfare? The answer is no! You don’t have to go to beachside resorts or faraway towns to get the most out of your Spring Break — you and your family could enjoy your time off with a staycation.
The Staycation — a New, Old Trend
Although your children may not remember this, there was a time when ‘staycation’ wasn’t part of the popular vernacular. Before the millennium, it was an unusual portmanteau, combining ‘stay’ and ‘vacation’. It wasn’t until 2009 — the same year dictionaries inducted the word into their lists — that the staycation became a true travel trend.
However, the first time it was used was before not just your child’s time but likely yours, too. First coined in 1944, staycation has been around longer than you realize.
It has since surged in popularity for many reasons, including the lingering effects of the 2008 recession, the greenback’s poor performance on an international setting, and the rise of underemployment and stagnation. With fewer folks in the position of taking lavish holidays, the staycation remains an affordable alternative in 2019.
How to staycation
Fortunately, the staycation is customizable. It could be an opportunity for you and the kids to catch up on chores and your Netflix queue, or it could be an excuse to explore a new neighborhood.
A staycation can be nearly anything as long it doesn’t include travelling to another state or country. If you’re overwhelmed by choice, here are some tips to help maximize yours this Spring Break:
- Pretend to be a tourist: If you had the cash to visit Paris, you would spend some time researching family-friendly ways to explore the city. Although your hometown may not have the same continental appeal, performing these same tasks could help you uncover something new to explore. Pretend you’ve never been to your city before and see what visitors have said about your hometown online. You may find some excellent ideas on a message board or Facebook community.
- Check for Spring Break program: Your local museum, gallery, library, or community center may offer affordable (or free) activities during Spring Break. Check to see if there’s anything that interests your family and sign up right away to reserve your spot.
- Use coupon sites: You may find a discount on activities or special events in your area on sites like Groupon or Yipit.
- Explore the outdoors: You don’t have to spend money every time you leave the house. Check out local trails, community skating rinks, and other outdoor activities to breathe fresh air for free.
- Get artsy: Put the “stay” in staycation by staying in and doing some family-friendly crafts like the ones in this guide.
Know when to draw the line
Depending on your financial situation, even a staycation may be out of your reach. If you don’t know where you land, think about how well you’d be able to handle an unexpected expense after your staycation.
Let’s say your fridge breaks down or you blow a tire. If, after a few Groupons and tickets to a museum, would you have enough savings to pay for these repairs? If not, you should probably focus on free activities this Spring Break and avoid things that cost money.
If you wouldn’t be able to take on these repairs no matter how you spend Spring Break, consider checking with an alternative lender like MoneyKey for help. Depending on where you live, they offer payday loans and installment loans that are often more convenient to secure than personal loans through mainstream banks. To learn more about why this might be, click here for more info on alternative lending options.
For many families, a Spring break abroad is a luxury. But bad finances don’t preclude a boring Spring Break for your family. The staycation could be your secret to a fun and affordable holiday this year.