When you're trying to manage your money wisely and live within a budget, the traditional vacation might not be within reach for you. And with travel now restricted in many ways due to the pandemic, many people are looking for alternatives.

One solution is to take a staycation, where you just stay at home but treat your city and nearby areas as your vacation destination. Staycations are gaining popularity, and for good reason, because you can relax for a week without the stress of knowing you're breaking your budget or planning around travel restrictions.

Preparing for your staycation

Just as you would make travel arrangements and pack before a vacation, take the time to get ready for your staycation, too. Here are a few things to consider doing to prepare:

  • Request time off from work and let your boss know you will be unavailable because you will be on vacation. Nobody at your job has to know you will vacationing at home.
  • Tell friends and family the dates when you will be on vacation, and ask them to contact you only in an emergency.
  • Budget for your staycation. Determine how much money you can afford to spend during the week on attractions and dining out, and commit to staying within that budget. Consider taking out the full amount in cash before your staycation, so it is easy to see exactly how much you have left as the week goes by.
  • Do your laundry, so you have a variety of clothes available for different sorts of settings. Have clothes available for going to the beach, lake or pool, hiking, visiting tourist attractions, and dining out.
  • Put your mail delivery on hold. You will not be tempted to pay bills if they are not even showing up in your mailbox.
  • Stock your fridge with the basics from the grocery store so you can prepare at least some of your meals at home. Remember that dining at home is much less expensive than dining out, so if you are on a very tight budget, you might want to dine mostly at home.
  • Clean your home so you don't feel like you need to clean during your staycation.

What to do during your staycation

Try to look at your city through new eyes. If you were visiting for the first time, what might you be interested in doing or seeing? Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers about their favorite spots in town or within an easy day trip distance. Some favorite destinations might include:

  • National parks, state parks, botanical gardens or arboretums
  • Museums, science centers or historical sites
  • Zoos or aquariums
  • Themed or local restaurants
  • Sporting events
  • Musical or dramatic performances
  • Golf courses

You can also just relax and enjoy your hobbies at home. You don't have to fill every day of your staycation with elaborate plans and activities. In fact, the most relaxing vacation will often include days when you don't feel like you need to do much of anything.

Sleep in, read a good book outside in the sun, take a bath, play a board game, go for a walk or maybe camp in the back yard. If there's something fun you feel like you never have time to do during your usual busy life, your staycation is the perfect opportunity to do some of that.

Build and monitor your vacation or staycation budget.

Old National Money Management, a feature in online and mobile banking, makes it is easy to set goals, track your budget and monitor transactions. Even receive alerts when you're nearing your budgeted numbers.

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