Travelling is a sore subject when you’re broke. It seems like everyone around is you planning their elaborate Spring Break to hot, sunny beaches. Meanwhile, you’re planning on watching as many Netflix series as possible in your drafty apartment. It’s a good excuse to catch up on Black Mirror, but your mental state may not recover from this depressing modern-day version of the Twilight Zone. It’s hard not to feel frustrated and maybe even a little bit resentful of friends who get to travel.
If the thought of wasting your vacation on another serial binge hurts your soul a little bit, don’t despair. You don’t always have to leave on a jet plane to feel like you’ve had a holiday
What is the staycation?
The staycation — a portmanteau consisting of the words ‘vacation’ and ‘stay’ — is a holiday that you spend at home. It was first used in the Cincinnati Enquirer back in 1944, but it wasn’t until the mid-noughties that the word caught on. Since then, the staycation (inducted into Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary in 2009) hasn’t been just a word we’ve used but a veritable trend in travel. The greenback’s poor performance and the rising cost of travel are just two reasons why it continues to grow.
Like any vacation, the staycation is flexible. It could mean a restorative week spent at home, doing nothing but catching up on sleep, chores, and your book of the month subscription. Or It could be a little more adventurous and involve a trip out of your house, potentially to another town over if you’re feeling frisky.
How to staycation like the best of them
First, check in with your budget to see what you can afford on your Spring Break. Your finances will determine whether you can tour the state or if you have to stay at home. Once you figure out your limits, start brainstorming ideas that fit within your budget.
Put on your tourist hat and pretend you’ve never visited your hometown, county, or state before. You might be surprised to find something you haven’t heard of before in your search. Be sure to:
- Check what other travellers posted about when they visited your hometown
- Google the best places to eat and try out a new restaurant with a 4-star rating
- Visit that museum you’ve always meant to go see but never went to before
- Reserve a tour of a local brewery or distillery
- Check in with sites like Groupon and Yipit to see if there are any activities, cultural events, or special offers happening during your “trip”
Get help from your librarian
If research isn’t your strong suit, head to your local library. Librarians are trained professionals who can help you brainstorm local travel ideas. The library is also a source of quality scheduling during the Spring Break that includes free family-friendly activities and adult-only programs. It’s also just a great place to visit if you feel a little claustrophobic in your home. Best of all — it’s free!
Know your contingency plan
Sometimes, even when you stay home, you can end up spending more than you thought possible. All the takeout, movie tickets, drinks, and even gas to get around adds up. Before you know it, you’re skimming off your savings to pay for what was supposed to be an inexpensive vacation. If you do this at the same time a financial emergency strikes, you may not have enough savings to cover it.
But that’s okay.
If you find yourself short when you try to pay for unexpected bills or repairs, a personal loan is always a great stopgap. Just be careful with the one you choose. Find something that works within your financial capabilities. Many short term loans require repayment by your next payday. If that paycheck is already tied up paying off bills and rent, then this kind of assistance isn’t for you.
You need something that has a more flexible repayment schedule, like the quick installment loans you can find online. Since you can apply, receive, and repay these products online, you can avoid many of the obstacles that typically delay assistance you get from conventional sources.
As the name suggests, you repay this cash advance back in installments spread out over several paychecks. Lenders devised this option to remove the burden of borrowing that many customers face, so their customers are more successful at managing their finances.
The bottom line: be responsible
You may not have the luxury that your friends do as they humblebrag about having to go to Miami instead of Cuba because of their budget. You might dread your rich friend’s upcoming social media firestorm as they post selfie after selfie from their resort penthouse. But that doesn’t mean you should let their good fortune and your limitations stop you from enjoying your Spring Break. Change the way you think about holidays and cook up a staycation that fits your finances.
A staycation can be just as fun and relaxing as any international jet-setting.