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My daughter’s spring break starts tomorrow! We usually go on some expensive trip, but the reality is that a big budget is not necessary to have an amazing vacation and make memories that last a lifetime.

Until recently, I was actually worrying about what we should do for spring break since our budget is more limited than it used to be. We had talked about Disney World before, but that is definitely not in our budget right now.

How to plan an awesome staycation

Then Key Ring sent me this article and got me thinking about a Staycation. It has some great ideas too (

And after brainstorming with the kiddo, I know we’re going to have a great time as a family, even with nearly no expenses.

Not sure how to have a cheap vacation? Let me introduce you to the Staycation.

This year, we are going to have a great vacation – in our own town. Yes, we are going to have a Staycation!

Truly, the Staycation is totally underrated. Why spend upwards of $3000 on a trip out of town when you can do all sorts of free and nearly-free fun stuff right where you are?

Brainstorm Ideas for Your Staycation

We brainstormed ideas as a family and came up with all sorts of fun stuff–things we haven’t done before and things we haven’t done in awhile, things we have been wanting to do but haven’t found the time, and even things we wanted to buy! I highly recommend a brainstorming session because it gives all family members a chance to be heard and get excited about all of the ideas. They may be disappointed that they won’t be visiting Mickey Mouse at first, but you’ll get buy-in when they realize all the other fun things they’ll be doing.

Here’s what we came up with to give you some ideas:

  1. Moviethon Day – everyone picks out a movie, we pop some popcorn, get comfy in the living room, and have a movie marathon, Price: Free
  2. Lakeside Nature Center – visit and learn about local wildlife; this is free admission in Kansas City, Price: Free
  3. Nelson Atkins Art Museum – this is also free admission in Kansas City; look up other local museums that might have free or low admission costs, Price: Free
  4. Zoo – we already have a family membership pass that we can use, but many cities have free admission, Price: Free
  5. Park/Playground/Trail – take the whole family to the park for a picnic and enjoy the outdoors, Price: Free
  6. KC Public Library – we always go to the small library near our home, but this is the huge old library in downtown and will be special, Price: Free
  7. Arts & Crafts / Game Day – we have a closet filled with games and arts & crafts activities that we haven’t gotten around to completing. Spring break is the perfect time to dust those off and get creative! Price: Free
  8. Lounge Day – this can be spa-themed or even just reading and enjoying staying around the house (like a break day), Price: Free
  9. Grandparent’s house – visit the grandparents just because, Price: Free
  10. Animal Shelter – my daughter loves cats and we’ve been talking about visiting a shelter just to give the cats some petting and play time (not bringing any home!), Price: Free
  11. Favorite Restaurants – everyone picks out a favorite restaurant and visit them for lunch/dinner throughout the week, Price: Low (depends on the restaurants, but our favorites are all fast food!)
  12. Wishlist Item – everyone picks an item of a certain price or less from their wishlist and gets to buy it, Price: Low-Medium (depends on the price limit that you determine)
  13. Hotel Stay – spend the night at a hotel with an indoor pool, Price: Medium
  14. Shopping Spree – we can buy Easter outfits; designate a limit on the amount to spend for this as well, Price: Low-Medium (depends on the price limit you determine)

Set a Budget for Your Staycation

Make sure you determine how much your family is willing to spend on your Staycation and then stick with it. Review your budget and do your due diligence to determine what that amount is so you can afford what activities you decide to do. Then, go back through your list of brainstorm ideas and plug in dollar estimates for each item.

Our budget is about $250, a small fraction of what we spent last year, and I think we’ll easily stay well within that amount even doing everything on the list above.

Enjoy Your Staycation

So now that you’ve brainstormed ideas, put budget amounts to them, and feel the excitement that comes with vacation anticipation, you can rest easy that you’ll be having quality family bonding time without breaking the bank. I know I am!

Enjoy your Staycation and tell us about all the fun you had while saving money in the comments below. I always love to get more frugal ideas!