Amy Hannold, 247Moms Frugal Living Editor
We chose to explore the big city near to us, over the cost of a further away vacation. Seattle offered a variety of attractions and amenities that would thrill our children, even on a budget.
Staycations do require advance planning and research. When you choose a closer, more affordable destination, you can perhaps splurge on a few upgrades during your getaway.
Begin with a family meeting, noting the attraction priorities and desires of everyone. Recruit your older children as internet researchers. Begin with a tourist bureau or chamber of commerce. Ask for free coupon books, entertainment guides, dining discounts, event calendars and special offers.
Be sure to include a visit to the websites of local newspapers and community centers. Look for spaghetti feeds, public pools, local entertainment, swap meets, etc – fun ways to affordably experience the town. Once you’ve taken an online visit to your destination, you’ll have a list of the where’s and when’s to enjoy once you’ve arrived.
Visiting a metropolitan city? Here are a few money-saving opportunities:
CityPass.com: Save time and money, buy a City Pass. Admission tickets to several attractions are included in one great price. Better yet, you’ll save time – most passes allow to you to bypass lines. You can purchase these at any participating attraction once you arrive. Passes are valid for a certain number of days, once you’ve used the first ticket.
Entertainment.com: Shop, Dine, and Save all over town. Our Seattle Entertainment book saved us more than we paid for it. From coffee to children’s museums and more, you’ll enjoy the best, for less. Some Entertainment book holders sell the book to location residents, once vacation is over. Entertainment book coupons are also traded over Craigslist.org. Check out the “Coupons” category for your destination, and you may be able to get more of the coupons you’ll need (done ahead of your departure).
Other Staycation Tips?
Snacks: Purchase snacks ahead of time. Determine which attractions allow outside food or picnics. Bottled water, hand wipes, sunglasses, and Ziploc bags also come in handy.
Accommodations: Compare prices on travel websites such as Priceline.com – or begin your search for accommodations at Ebates.com. When you book your stay through a participating website of Ebates, you’ll receive a small rebate.
Scrapbook, Staycation Style: Give each child a composition-type notebook as their journal. Decorate the cover once you’re home with photos, ticket stubs and other mementos. Their artwork, observations, or other memories will be uniquely captured – a treasure!