Spring Break is on its way. Many families dream of hitting the road to a sunny locale (Disneyland, anyone?). But those who are still pinching pennies after the recession, Disneyland for a family can be out of price range.

Think about the cost for a family of four: if you fly, it would cost at least $1000 round trip. Driving would be cheaper, but more time intensive. Entrance into the park is $80 a day, and that would be $240 a day. That does not include food, souvenirs, and hotel. After a couple of days, your trip could cost upwards of $3,000.

Most families do not have an extra $3,000 for a spring break trip. Enter the staycation. Staycations have become the solution to limited funds for frugal families everywhere. Who says that just because you can’t go anywhere for spring break you can’t have any fun or see any sights? A staycation is the perfect solution.

A staycation is a vacation at home. Instead of treating your hometown like the same place you see everyday, act like you are a tourist. No boring activities like going to the bank or grocery shopping, only fun things.

If you want to have a great staycation, here are some tips.

  • Pick up a guidebook. It sounds silly, but picking up a guidebook is a great way to learn more about your city/state and will give you insight to the must hit spots. A guidebook will have recommendations for food, activities and other suggestions for maximizing your “vacation.”
  • Find hidden gems. My area has a candy factory that gives tours. While I would never think about going on a weekend, a staycation is the perfect excuse. Think about what quirky sites your area might have and make a visit.
  • Treat it like a real vacation.  No cell phones, no errands, no PTA meetings and NO cleaning. The only way to keep a staycation special is to dismiss real life and pretend you are a tourist.

Need helping finding ideas what to do on your staycation? Think about these:

  • Museums. Look around your town for inspiration. Most colleges have museums that could keep kids and adults entertained for hours. You can even get a history lesson if your town/region has a museum.
  • Quirky activities. As I mentioned before, look into interesting activities like a tour of a candy factory or create a scavenger hunt in the city. Anything that will get your family to look at the town differently.
  • Hikes. Getting outdoors is a great way to spend spring break. Look for hikes, bike trails and other outdoor adventures in your community. If the weather is crummy, take the adventure inside. Find an indoor rock climbing quarry, batting cage or ice skating rink. Any activity that gets your kids moving instead of vegging the whole break.
  • Events. Take in a music concert, outdoor market or other event to spice up the week. Who knows, you might find something you want to do again and again.
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