Go on a Staycation!
A sensational getaway with all the magical powers of an away vacation but at less than half the cost.
We even have a few tips that could net you free accommodations - seriously.
If the economy has you thinking twice about an away vacation this year, get away a little closer to home.
It's not how far you physically go that resets your "happy meter", it's the change of view and relaxed routine, the altered tempo, the doing of new things.
A staycation getaway gives you all of that without some of the spendier and more stressful aspects of travel - like day-long flights and arduous drives.
Here you'll find resources and ideas for planning a fantastic vacation close to home.
There are MILLIONS of hotel and resort options and sorting through them can be daunting. Use a reputable online source like TripAdvisor where you can thoroughly research the rooms, property, service and amenities available in your area.
It's free to use it and the best part is the candid reviews by customers which give you a real "feel" for each place.
Additionally, attractions in the area are listed and rated to make it easy for you to plan special outings.
Depending on who will be sharing the vacation with you choose accommodations with hot tubs, swimming pools, waterslides, casinos, spa services, gyms, golf or racquet sports amenities, great restaurants and boutique shopping, all of which can often be accessed without ever having to leave the hotel grounds.
Typically they offer a room, suite or cottage and breakfast in the mornings - sometimes breakfast is made and served daily and sometimes a basket of fresh, local goodies are presented on your arrival.
Other than that there is really nothing "typical" about a B&B. They're as varied and unique as the people who own them and are located at beach towns, farms and popular attractions as well as bucolic villages and bustling metropolis's (or is that metropoli?).
Frequently they're operated out of working farms, orchards and vinyards where you can experience the pace of a different lifestyle.
For many, renting a home, villa or condo is the only way to go vacationing.
Properties offering space, privacy and a sense of neighborhood are available worldwide at fabulous locations. Houses, condos, villas, chalets, cottages even castles suitable for anything from an intimate romantic retreat to a grand family gathering Check TripAdvisor for a huge selection of rental properties.
This option appeals to people who, for a variety of reasons - insurance requirements, garden and plant care, catching small problems before they turn into big problems - would rather have someone live in their house than leave it empty.
It offers not just a place for you to stay but someone to stay at your place which maintains that "lived in" look that thieves tend to avoid.
It's worth considering if you want the freedom to travel without the expenses of accommodations at one end and home security at the other.Connect with a huge group of people who would like to trade homes with you.
Housecarers.com brings together those who have the time, freedom and desire to stay at peoples homes and care for their pets or plants and those who need someone to stay at their home while they are away.
The thing I like about housecarers is that it's free to look at what's available WITHOUT purchasing a membership.
Also, they allow you to put up a short blurb about yourself to cast the line out there.
Go to HouseCarers.com and click on the "browse houses to sit" link. You can refine your search to any area so just start plugging in places you'd like to spend some time and see what comes up.
For full access to the site and to get contact information you can upgrade at any time for a $50.00 fee. The fee is for a full year and you can contact as many prospects as you like within that year. The relationships that you establish are often ongoing. Considering what you can save on lodging over the next year it's worth looking into.
You just might score yourself a waterfront house sit (like our friends did) especially if you're willing to look after pets - they looked after 2 dogs right on the beach in California and highly recommended the service to me.
Just because you can drive thousands of miles in your RV doesn't mean you have to. Meet family and friends at a local campground and plan a staycation right down the road.
If you don't have an RV you can rent one for a family vacation none of you will ever forget.
Change things up with a sporty car or rent a jeep for a drive to the mountains.
If you live in a place where brutal winter weather makes you crave a break, try booking into a local hotel or resort that offers Spa services or pool and waterslide areas.
Sitting by a pool in a climate controlled environment can thaw out the winter chill and cure the cabin fever that takes hold around mid-winter.
This has become a favorite winter mini getaway and we book for at least two nights so there's a day of no driving.
Restaurants and room service ensure that you can eat like royalty when you want to but most rooms include a refrigerator, coffee maker and sometimes a microwave that allows you to keep costs within your budget.
Again, TripAdvisor is your best bet for finding the hotel with the amenities and activities that suit you.