Money & Career

Save cash by vacationing at home

Author: Canadian Living

Money & Career

Save cash by vacationing at home

It's not your imagination -- flying is becoming almost prohibitively expensive, not to mention offensive, thanks to body scans and your Chanel No. 5 staying behind at security. Train travel isn't all that much cheaper, and riding the bus to Florida with a family of four is just plain crazy.   

We say, stay home instead. Look at your own city or province through the eyes of a tourist. Go somewhere you've never gone before and do something you've never done before. You'll grow to love your home more, inject money into the local economy and save a bundle all at the same time.   

Get started by contacting your province's or city's tourism board -- many send out guides or have websites packed with useful information. Start dreaming and planning, and get inspired by these 10 smart ideas.   

1. Agreed, gas is expensive, but renting an RV -- a home on wheels -- eliminates hotel costs and can be a blast for kids. There's a big, organized RVing community out there, so look for websites that offer tips and list free and safe places to park at night. Get started at gorving.ca.    

2. Go camping. You might already own a tent and some sleeping bags. If so, then it's time to air them out and get to the woods. If not, you don't have to spend a bundle: Ask your friends and family for loaners, look on the secondhand sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji or look for rentals or deals at outdoor equipment shops like Mountain Equipment Co-op.    

3. You might not realise it, but this is Canada -- we're surrounded by natural wonders such as caves, badlands, deserts and waterfalls. Get out and see something that will take your breath away. And don't worry about the kids being bored: Most natural attractions offer fun, educational and interactive activities.    

4. Explore your city, or a city nearby, like you've never done before, with a guided walking tour. Start searching and you'll find tours geared to many passions: food, sports, architecture, history, even ghosts (find a tour at www.ghosttoursofcanada.com).    

5. Get some culture and take in a play or show, and look for package deals including hotels and meals. Staying in a hotel? Ask the concierge about deals around the city.    

6. Check your local resorts for out-of-season deals in spring, fall and (depending on the location) winter. If you live nearby, you may be able to take advantage of last-minute specials.   

7. Spend the day driving in the countryside and taking in nature's show, whether it's fall leaves, spring flowers or summer's bounty. Pack a picnic, take a break or go for a hike. In fall, check theweathernetwork.com for leaf-colour reports.     

8. Live near wine country or farmland? Some wineries and producers are offering inexpensive stays in exchange for help in the fields. Visit trailcanada.com for more information.    

9. Book a romantic night or two at a local hotel in your own city -- no travel hassle or costs, just the room rate. Bring your own bubbles (even sneak in a cheese plate), find a hotel with amenities you'll use (bring on the Jacuzzi) and turn that staycation into a playcation. Check local hotels for seasonal, mid-week or weekend deals.   

  10. Check with your city's attractions. As the tourists trail off, the deals heat up. Amusement parks and other attractions are always looking for extra visits on the off season, so many make it very attractive to pack up the whole family for a local day off.   

There's a whole wide world of inexpensive -- even free -- fun, right on your doorstep. Saving money doesn't have to mean not leaving the house. 
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Save cash by vacationing at home

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