The many benefits of a staycation

Kids pretending they are camping inside their house

As Labor Day approaches, the end of summer is in sight.

Summer is a popular time to travel; with most students out of school, families look to enjoy an extended vacation. The kids have a chance to recharge before a long semester, and parents want to enjoy a small break from the office.

Opportunities to travel may dwindle come the end of the summer, but it's not impossible to enjoy a trip across the country or even overseas. In fact, vacations are often more affordable once the height of the summer travel season starts to subside.

Additionally, many find they can't simply hop on an airplane and leave home for an extended period of time. You might not have enough money saved up, there could be personal reasons, or one of a variety of explanations makes getting away difficult or impossible.

But time waits for no one, and soon you'll realize the year is coming to a close. With that comes the question of what to do with the vacation days you've accrued throughout the year. You don't want the days that won't carry over to go to waste, but you can't book an elaborate trip.

Enter the "staycation'. Not only will you benefit by taking some much needed time off from work, but you'll also be able to save money.

What is a staycation?

A staycation resembles a vacation, but instead of driving hundreds of miles or paying for airfare, you remain home or close by. The key is you take a few days off from work, otherwise it's not a true staycation.

Instead of an expensive trip, try a staycation.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of a staycation are numerous, starting first with the opportunity to save money. Even though the summer travel season starts to wane following Labor Day weekend, you'll still find yourself spending at least a few hundred dollars going on a normal vacation.

By sleeping in your own bed during a staycation, you won't have to worry about traveling expenses or other budgeting worries. But what if your plan is to drive to a smaller town with a much-talked about bed and breakfast? In this instance, you'll only have to account for gas, the few nights for lodging, food and any souvenirs you might pick up.

Compare this to the average cost of a vacation, particularly to an overseas destination. According to Value Penguin, an International excursion could cost $3,000 or more [1]. This includes the cost of airfare, hotels, food entertainment and more. Needless to say, an expensive trip may not make the most sense.

What should I do?

The true beauty of a staycation, particularly over the Labor Day weekend, is that you can do whatever you want. Whether you need to take care of some home repairs or you want to work on the car for a bit, the three-day weekend represents the perfect opportunity to do so.

"The true beauty of a staycation is that you can do whatever you want."

You can also explore your city or town, as Forbes contributor Steve Odland recommends [2]. Consider grabbing a bite to eat at a new restaurant, or maybe splurge on a romantic night with your loved one.

Hosting a cookout is a great idea if you decide to stay home, as there's a good chance friends, family and co-workers will also decide to remain home for the weekend. Light up the grill, throw some logs in the fire and bask in the unofficial end of summer.

To get the most out of your staycation, make sure to commit to it. Try not to follow the same routine you have during a regular week. Throw yourself a curveball and make an effort to mix things up. An early morning workout, a walk throughout the park, or rediscovering an old hobby are all perfect staycation activities.

This Labor Day weekend, a staycation may be your best bet. But you don't have to wait for the holidays to reap the benefits. If you're itching for some time off work, but want to save money and avoid the hassles of traveling, consider a staycation, any time of the year.

[1]. Average Cost of a Vacation

[2]. 16 Things To Do On A "Staycation"

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