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It can be difficult to get very far in such a short time, but most people prefer to avoid the hassles of travel such as traffic and busy airports anyway. With the pressure of inflation on common goods, services and rising fuel prices, planning a trip can seem daunting this summer season. In fact, according to a GOBankingRates survey, 17% of readers say they are cutting back on travel this year. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do close to home that can save you money. Here are several affordable ideas for your own stay.
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To go camping
It’s the start of summer, so why not enjoy a camping trip. Chaz Wyland, founder of SnowMobileHow and avid traveler, said you don’t have to go very far. “To turn a camping experience into a vacation, I highly recommend spending a night under the stars, even if it’s your own backyard. Lay out a tent and blankets or sleeping bag, cook s’mores on the campfire, and look for shooting stars.
Although some sites require advance reservations, most campsites are inexpensive and you can pack your own food. If you already have your own camping gear, your costs would be very low, or even free if it’s your own backyard. If you needed to buy gear, in addition to reserving a spot, you can get the entire kit and coaster of camping basics, from tent to cooler to camping chair and more again for less than $200, according to Reserve America.
Borrow a friend’s house
If you have friends and family who like to travel and whose homes you find inviting, peaceful or appealing, Cathy Mills, chief strategy officer for Influence Weekly, said: “Ask them if you can use their gardens, their homes or their vacation homes. By doing this you will change the environment and not have to pay for a calm and different weekend.”
This can be especially nice if they have a pool or live near a lake or another beautiful place. Even if you offer to pay something to stay, it will probably be cheaper than a hotel, and without any competing customers either.
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Rent a local hotel
If you want the perks of being on vacation, like a clean room where you don’t have to wash the sheets or make the bed, plus room service and other conveniences, consider renting a local hotel. – then you won’t have to travel far – looking for offers. “Contact the hotel and let them know you live nearby and would like to know more about their services,” said David Adler, Founder and CEO of The Travel Secret. “You may be able to find a fantastic deal and enjoy a relaxing weekend.”
The average cost of a hotel night in the United States is $90.92, according to Statista. Although hotels can vary wildly, more or less than that, if you use an offer through a site like Groupon or a rewards program, you can cut costs.
Be a tourist in your own city or region
If you live somewhere with tourist attractions that you tend to avoid because, well, tourists, make this weekend your chance to play tourist yourself. For those who live in big cities, you can even “bundle” attractions with discounts through things like CityPass and Go City, according to Travel and Leisure.
Enjoy a local spa
Maybe you don’t want to be far from home, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss some of the pampering that can come with a vacation. Go to the local spa in your town and book a massage, manicure/pedicure or facial. The average cost for an hour-long massage is around $60, according to the University of Minnesota (although it can approach $100 and more in some areas). The average cost of a facial ranges from $35 to $100+ depending on the services you get, according to Thervo.com. And you’ll pay around $10 to $45 for a manicure and $15 to $50 for a pedicure, according to Cost Helper.
Go on a picnic, on foot or by bike
Just going out during the day can make you feel like you’re on vacation, even if you’re sleeping at home. Tanya Peterson, vice president of branding for Freedom Financial Network, recommends having a picnic or going for a walk or bike ride somewhere you’ve never been before. “Choose a park or other place that’s not too far away. You might be surprised how different things are when visiting by bike or on foot rather than by car.” At most, you will pay the cost of the picnic you brought.
Turn off all your technologies
Peterson also said you can make any day off feel like a vacation by turning off all your technology, phones, iPads, ignoring emails, and more. “Notify appropriate friends, family members and customers of your vacation days.” Fortunately, disconnecting is totally free.
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