by Elizabeth Huff

Many writers, and other people, can not afford to get away for a vacation or choose not to bother with the added stress and hassle. Staycations have become very popular with many for their getaway feel on a budget. If you only have a small budget of a $100 or less you can still have a great time no matter where you live. Here are some free and low-cost staycation ideas.

  • Visit Local Attractions – Most cities have free and low-cost attractions in addition to the higher priced ones for tourists. Look into doing some local sightseeing. Check out your local visitors center, google local attractions, or check out your states tourist guide for ideas.
  • Camping – This is a popular choice for many people who enjoy the outdoors and can be relatively cheap for those who already have the equipment. For a bit more money you can rent a cabin. Be sure to check out deals for longer stays and rates for off-season rentals.
  • Renting a local hotel/motel for a weekend – (again check the off-season rates) This can give you the feel of a vacation away from home, but without the added travel expenses. The best part is you already know the cheap places to eat and you can combine this with tip #1.
  • House swapping – Although there are a few websites where you can do this with a stranger, the safer bet (in my opinion) is to do this with friends or family. You switch houses and you get a temporary vacation home for free.
  • Movie Marathon Night – This is especially fun with a group of people. You can either go out to a movie theater (many places have cheaper theaters that show older movies) or stay in and watch a bunch of movies. Try to find a local drive-in (though there aren’t many left) or a theater that also has dining options nearby.
  • Conventions – While many of the big name conventions are super expensive, there are often less well-known conventions that are low-cost. Check out a local writer’s convention or look into the local conventions of another hobby.
  • Travel to a less well-known destination – Major  tourist spots are expensive, but less well-known spots that are off the beaten track can offer just as great a time as more expensive spots. In my experience you often get better service and more personal attention with less well-known sites. Consider thanking them by offering good reviews so they can get more tourists.
  • Host a potluck or barbecue – They tend to be relatively cheap since everyone shares the cost, and even if you can’t or don’t want to cook you can still buy food, or contribute in other ways.
  • Host a game day – You and your friends bring all your games to somebody’s house and play as many as you can. Try combining this with the barbecue idea for a day of fun.