You don’t need an airplane ticket or a fancy hotel to feel like you’re on vacation. This summer, set routine aside and rediscover your surroundings with a staycation. It’s all about treating yourself and finding hidden attractions that will turn an otherwise ordinary day into a lifelong memory. So, go ahead, set your email to Auto Response, charge up the video camera, and enjoy the family fun that’s all around you.
Celebrate an obscure holiday.
Often vacations revolve around a holiday weekend. Everyone’s watching fireworks on the Fourth of July or barbecuing on Labor Day, but why not celebrate a lesser-known holiday? Host an ice cream social in July for National Ice Cream Month and ask each guest to bring the most creative topping they can think of. In honor of Teddy Bear Picnic Day, head to the park on July 10 with a picnic basket and your favorite stuffed animals. Or, visit one of the many aerospace museums scattered across the U.S. for Amelia Earhart Day on July 24.
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Use the Internet to save.
Sites like coupons.com offer more than just saving money on groceries. You will find deals and coupons for local events and attractions. If you go to a different city, just type in that zip code and go!
Not all of us have a professional sport’s team in the neighborhood or can afford a Major League price tag. Minor League Baseball games are an affordable alternative and many are located outside of big cities, making them accessible to more Americans. Go to MiLB.com to see if there is a nearby team and check promotional calendars for family nights. A family of four can get tickets and concessions for less than $10 each.
Tours will teach you a lot about a subject you’ve probably thought little about and you’d be surprised how many facilities host them. Factory Tours USA lists more than 500 to choose from and many are free. From cheese to toothpaste, racecars to furniture, there’s a tour for just about any product. Many sports arenas also host tours, giving you a behind the scenes look at where the players, the press, and the staff go about business on game days. Recycling centers, government buildings, and college campuses also are known to give tours.
To truly enjoy your time off, let someone wait on you, no concierge service necessary. Instead of room service, try out a grocery delivery service. Many offer first time customers free delivery. Since there’s no maid to clean up, hire a housekeeper to do a deep clean for less than one night’s hotel stay. Buy a day pass to a pool at a local community college, high school or community center and get your swim on for a couple of dollars per family member.
Travel like a tourist.
Take advantage of public transportation. For many kids, even a ride on a commuter train is an event in itself. Search for bike tours, bus tours, ferries, any way of getting around, other than your car. Handing in your keys for the day gives you a chance to see things with a fresh set of eyes.
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