May 2008: Just a few short years ago, it was nothing to dump ten bucks in the gas tank and drive five hours for a two night vacation in the north woods. Today that trip, financially speaking, is no longer a great idea. The trip burns about 20 gallons of gas (30 in my truck) for the round trip and today that will run over $78.20 (and rising) leaving much less cash for food and entertainment.
Unless you have a large stash of disposable income, vacationing away from home is fast becoming less practical for many families. So what’s the solution?
Take a Staycation! “Staycatioing” is fast becoming the “green” way to save green while investing your money into home improvements. Stay at home and invest the money you would normally spend on a vacation into upgrading an unused space in your home; like a basement home theater or for summer months your backyard. Sure many people feel trapped by their daily grind and just have to get away for a vacation, but what if everything you ran 100 miles away to enjoy was right in your own backyard?
Taking a staycation has many advantages:
- No long “are we there yet?” drive.
- No speeding tickets.
- No traffic hassles.
- Clean facilities nearby.
- No crowds.
- Quick escape when weather turns ugly.
Taking just one staycation per year can not only save money, but also helps the overall gas problem. With the endlessly growing number of people out there today, we all need to start doing our part.
Once we arrived at to our vacation destination, the things we enjoyed the most were simply sitting under the tent and next to the campfire, so rather than spend hundreds of dollars each year on the long trek to increasingly congested campgrounds and resorts, we decide to bring the best of the resorts to our back yard. Now we have our own relaxing gazebo, Jacuzzi and cozy campfire pit right in our backyard.
Money spent on a vacation is gone the day your vacation ends, but money spent on items you can continue to use keeps providing fun and enjoyment year after year.
We decided a few years ago to start using the money we normally put aside for vacationing for improving our back yard. We first erected over 500 feet of cyclone fence to keep the dog happy on his perpetual staycation. For our rather large back yard that was equal in price to a winter Mexico vacation we had planned to take. The next year we again stayed home and again spent the vacation funds to install a Jacuzzi hot tub. Now we feel like we’re in Mexico every day of the year!
This year we are continuing our staycation tradition adding more trees and a 12’x24′ garden garage with an attached 10’x12′ greenhouse. The greenhouse will help us offset the rising price of fruits & vegetables, allowing us to become less dependent of store bought produce.
This year, try taking a staycation, you’ll find it more relaxing than an expensive trip!
Tell us about your stay-at-home-vacation experiences and ideas in the comments section below.
Update 2011: We’ve take the whole staycation idea to a new level. The images above are from early 2008. Since then we have added another gardening shed, a 10’x12′ greenhouse and a 15′ x 30 three season room to our “staycation” resort. The indoor hot tub now makes for a resort like atmosphere year round, even in the dead of our Wisconsin winter. Read the detailed account of how we built our own three season room. A few photos are shown below.