If you are finding your vacation budget dwindling this year, there are many affordable options you can consider. One of the most affordable and relaxing vacation plans is a ‘staycation’. A staycation keeps your activities and accommodations close to home while still providing you with the benefits of time away; all the rest and relaxation you need. Here are our tips for planning the perfect staycation.
What is a ‘staycation’?
Staycations provide you with a vacation experience while discovering all the activities and destinations available in your own backyard. You can stick to your own city, or venture a few hours away, but the essence of a staycation is keeping close to home. You can stay at home, but it’s always far more fun to budget for a stay away at resorts in Kingston, up north in a cottage rental, or even camping. You can also plan a road trip and mix things up staying at a B&B one night, camping the next and enjoying some time at an Ontario resort. You can then plan your entertainment based on your budget throwing in some free activities such as hiking, fishing, picnicking or window shopping.
Make a Budget
Your staycation is an indication you don’t have the budget to venture too far from home, so, knowing how much you can spend will help you determine what you can afford to do on your staycation. You might decide to put your full budget into a week’s worth of indulgent meals or spread it out over a number of activities exploring your own city. You might also want to have at least one night at a nice hotel or resort to benefit from a change of scenery. You can find lovely resorts in Kingston, travel north, or even decide to camp in a local provincial park.
What do you love to do?
Think about the things you love to do. Just because you stay at home does not mean you can’t discover some wonderful new experiences in your own backyard. You can even consider theming your staycation such as nature lovers, foodie, fishing, wine or craft beer tours, and history or cultural such as visiting museums and galleries. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, start to research spots you can visit. You can look for tour routes within the province or simply enter “fishing in Ontario” or “resorts in Kingston” to see what you find. This will help you not only zero in on the activities you’ll love but might also provide a path or destination to target.
Should I stay, or should I go?
Now that you have an idea of the activities you’d like to do on your staycation, you can decide if you are going to stay at home and plan day excursions or book a short trip away. This is usually driven by budget but for most of us, a vacation includes a change of scenery. Remember the main thing is to find some downtime to enjoy the things you love whether that’s binge-watching Netflix, hiking, camping or enjoying some new dining experiences. A good idea is to budget for at least a few nights away, so you can get the best of both worlds.
Plan Your Days
There is always much more to do locally than you might think. However, exploring nearby towns is a great way to help plan your days and find new activities that you never considered before. Some activity ideas could include:
- Visiting a museum or art gallery
- Following one of the tour routes in your area such as apple trails, wine and beer routes, or even a butter tart route
- Consider local history and attractions such as the Loyalist Trail, Upper Canada Village or Fort Henry
- Local tour companies hosting special events like Ghost Walks or Foodie Tours
- Look up districts that you can visit such as historic areas of a town, or shopping districts where you can discover open-air markets
- Look up the best places to eat on sites such as Trip Advisor so you can discover some hidden gems whether it’s an elegant meal or the best burgers in town
- Check out local calendars for areas you’re interested in visiting to see if there are any fairs, festivals or events that will be of interest to you
- Look at group learning opportunities such as wine and beer tastings, cooking classes, or yoga on the beach
- Hiking and biking trails are not only relaxing but also free
- Charters such as tours of the Thousand Islands, fishing, or even scuba diving adventures are available
Check Your Bucket List
When thinking of things to do, consider some of the items on your bucket list. There are many local activities that you can find from skydiving to ziplining and trying new foods to learning to dance. There is no end to the new things you can try when you are on your staycation.
A staycation is the perfect opportunity to get more active. You could go biking, hiking, swimming and many other activities that will improve your health and be a lot of fun. There are hundreds of biking trails to explore and many towns now have local bike rentals that are easily accessible.
Relax and Pamper Yourself
Vacations are designed to pamper and relax you. Staycations can provide the same benefits, giving you the time to unwind and indulge in some good old-fashioned pampering. Look into the local spas in the areas you will be staying and book a massage or facial. Look for spots to stay that will help you reconnect with nature. Water has a calming effect, so staying at lake or seaside resort is ideal. Don’t make your schedule too hectic. It’s not uncommon for staycationers to feel they have to pack their days and nights with excitement. Instead, you will find far more pleasure and benefit from planning your days wisely combining downtime with adventure.