Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Is it a "stay-cation" or just an inexpensive vacation?

Sometimes, you’ve just got to get away, but with the cost of vacations on the rise, not to mention the sometimes unappreciative looks you can get from upper management when you try to take some time off, a staycation might just be the best bet for you! So, what is a staycation? Simply put, this is a vacation that doesn’t take you very far from home. It can mean a quiet week spent tending your gardens or putting on that bathroom addition you’ve been talking about for years, but it can also mean a little cottage in the mountains, a river adventure tour, or even a visit to some of your state’s most historic places. The idea is to get away without actually going very far away! While it is a great idea to really get away from time to time, you can save a bundle and still have some vacation time left over during the year that you can use for a second mini-vacation.

For our purposes, we’ll say that a great staycation involves staying within your own state, so to get started, whip out a road map and start looking around. This will give you an idea for what sort of interesting things are to be found within your state’s borders. You might be tempted to run to the internet, but don’t. Trust me, there’s a very good reason for this. The reason is that there’s actually too much information to be sifted through. You could easily spend a month planning for a four-day trip and still wind up mobbed by a crowd of tourists, overpaying for everything you look at, and return home more stressed out than when you left. The deluge of information, simply put, is put there by advertisers. People pay to have certain pages put up, and if you’re seeing them, so is everyone else in the world. Instead, use a plain old paper map and look for places you’ve never been. There might be museums or historical sites, rivers or lake towns, even an oceanside village or two that can pique your interest. 

Next, (and yes, now you can use the internet, since you’ve narrowed down the search a little) check out the tourist spots in the place you’ve selected. If it’s a town, the local chamber of commerce or visitor’s bureau are great places to start putting together trip information, and you might even be able to request additional information such as visitors packets that might come with coupons for local hotels! 

Remember that most tourist destinations have an on-season and an off-season, so be aware that the prices for places such as hotels and restaurants will change depending on what time of year you decide to go. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing interesting to do, it’s just that most people come to visit during a certain time of the year.  Take for instance the town of Vidalia, Georgia. Once per year, there’s a deluge of onion-loving tourists that flood into the town for the Vidalia onion festival, but throughout the rest of the year, the town quiets down considerably and offers quaint and cozy attractions, golf, bicycling, and a host of other activities that get less expensive during the “off season,” so plan your budget-minded trip accordingly!

Just because you decide to stay close for your next vacation doesn’t mean that you have to room with your second cousin out in the sticks. If you plan it right, you just might find yourself thinking twice about that extended stay you’ve been dreaming about in Cozumel! (Or, maybe not...)

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