How To Plan An Affordable Staycation – The Best Tips, Tricks, Hacks and a Huge List of Staycation Activity Ideas! {Free Printable Included!}

Mar 8, 2023 | Family Time, How To Save Money, Travel

Vacations are an amazing opportunity to bond and make memories with your family, but … sometimes they just aren’t in the year’s budget! Instead of spending hundreds (or thousands) on a family vacation, plan a STAYCATION instead. It'll be just as fun and you'll save a TON!

According to Business Insider, HALF of Americans report that they will not be taking a summer vacation due to financial reasons. With inflation and the rising costs of travel, that is completely understandable! But there is an alternative to still allow your family that quality bonding time along with some rest and relaxation for you, even without leaving your city. We've got tons of affordable staycation ideas, tips and tricks for you, with a FREE PRINTABLE below!

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Well, guys… it's time to put away the maps and the brochures, fire your travel agent, and learn how to plan a staycation right in your own city. Feeling a little skeptical? Don't worry! We'll show you how you can have just as much fun finding adventure in your own town while spending little to NO money at all.


It is a well-known fact that vacation often leave you feeling more worn out than before you left. Between packing, travel, checking in and out, and activities with kids – it can be exhausting!

With proper planning, a staycation can have all the benefits of a traditional vacation without the stress, financial burden, OR the exhaustive travel. Need we say more? Use these tips and have the best staycation ever while rejuvenating your body and soul! Umm, sign us up, please!


Just because this isn't a traditional vacation doesn't mean you don't need to plan it out and set a budget. Determine how much you can spend and stick to that number no matter what. Remember, you don't HAVE to spend anything. Search around your area for free attractions. There are TONS! We even have a post dedicated to helping you find fun things to do near you, so be sure to check that out! If you can't afford to have the staycation you want right now, use our best budgeting tips to save money fast and plan one for later. Don't stretch your finances too thin!



Help get your kids and family in the vacation mood despite not having to pack or travel. Once you’ve made a little game plan for your vacation, have them help create a fun “itinerary” with staycation dates and activities! Even your littlest travel agent can help decorate with stickers or doodles to hang on the fridge and remind everyone that you are officially Out-Of-Office! 


You might know your town like the back of your hand, or maybe you live in a larger city that you haven’t even dipped your toe into the water yet. Imagine for a second that you were a just a passerby through your current town. What kind of activities would you do to fill your time here? Are there any landmarks, historical spots, popular walking trails, infamous ice cream shops, hidden hot springs, family museums, or local favorite restaurants? 

Try searching for your town/city in any of the popular travel guide websites like Yelp! Or Tripadvisor and see what is listed as a must-see site nearby! 

Pretend you don’t live and work here, and enjoy your surroundings with a fresh perspective as someone simply here for recreation and relaxation during this staycation time. 


If you were vacationing at a farther-away destination, you’d probably be taking lots of pictures. You might even splurge and order room service from the hotel, or stay in your robes or jammies for breakfast. So why not do the same thing for your staycation?! Pretend you’re in a hotel, let the kids order “room service” one day, and don’t forget to snap fun pictures to remember the family time. 

You can also use your staycation as an excuse to dress up! We have the power to make any occasion a special occasion, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being “overdressed”! So encourage your family to have a little fun with their wardrobe for a family dinner or two. 


woman in a hammock outside, from Fun Cheap or Free

The point of a staycation is to get a break from reality and focus on having fun and resting, just like a traditional vacation. It is SO important, especially if you are staying at home, to set strict guidelines to protect the “staycation” nature of your time. That means… NO housework! Get your home clean and ready for your staycation before it starts so you can spend your time truly relaxing. Don't worry, the laundry will still be there when your staycation is over!

Also, make it a point to completely unplug from technology and just enjoy the company of your loved ones! It's worth it… we promise!


little girl feeding giraffe with dad, from Fun Cheap or Free

Here are some of our best staycation ideas to get you started. Plug your top picks into your “itinerary” or let each family member choose their favorite activity! You can download this list and let the whole family participate in the planning fun!

Download this list of Family Staycation Activity Ideas for an EPIC staycation together!


  • Hire a personal chef to come and cook for you in your home. 
  • Build a fire and roast marshmallows.
  • Enjoy a soda. (It is a staycation, after all!)
  • Order take out so there's no mess to clean up. 
  • Splurge on a 5-star restaurant.
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Visit a local candy or fudge shop. (Or make your own fudge and save some major money!)
  • Take a family art or cooking class. 
  • Take a trip around the world and make your favorite cuisines from different parts of the country or world. Pinterest has tons of ideas!
  • Try out a new restaurant nearby.


  • Get dressed up and go to the theater. 
  • Fruit picking at a local U-Pick orchard
  • Explore the local farmer's market
  • Take a full-day trip to the zoo or aquarium. 
  • Visit a local tourist attraction, like a unique museum or restaurant. 
  • Go hiking at the lake. 
  • Rent kayaks or paddle boards and go exploring. 
  • Find a late-night spot for live music.
  • Rent scooters and tour the city. 
  • Rent a convertible for a day.
  • Visit an exotic animal park and feed the llamas. 
  • Go to a local pool and have a “beach” day. 
  • Sign up for family archery class. 
  • Take a leisurely bike ride as a family. 
  • Pose for cheesy photo opportunities! 
  • Rent a projector and host a drive-in backyard movie night.

Alright, now that you know how to begin… let's get to planning!

Download this list as a FREE Printable and let your family help plan the most epic staycation! Tell us your favorite way to staycation in the comments below!

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Happy staycationing! 🙂

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