Monday, April 13, 2009

Splurging on staycation

During a recent interview for a magazine, I was asked:

What ideas do you have for really indulging, but still saving money, such as a day at a spa instead of a week at a resort, a really fancy dinner out instead of a week of hotel accommodations, etc.?

Good question (is that obvious pandering to the reporter?)

I have a section in the book devoted to that. Most people probably choose a vacation in their hometown for budgetary reasons, but you don’t want to be cheap on any kind of vacation. If you think about being on a budget with any vacation, whether it’s in Hawaii or your hometown, you’re probably not going to have much fun.

My idea is to have a “Staycation Reward,” which is one splurge item during the vacation. If you calculate how much you’ll save by foregoing the traditional vacation, you can take half of that or a third of that, depending on your budget, and then apply it to your vacation. It could be used for new clothes, new TV or maybe saved for the next traditional vacation.

One splurge item popular with the people I talked to for the book is spending two or three days at a local resort. You save on travel costs, but can still take advantage of the resort’s spa, restaurants and other amenities.

A stay at any type of hotel, other than a flea-bagger, is a splurge to consider for anyone taking a staycation. Staying at a hotel in your hometown might not seem like a great financial decision, but a few days at a hotel allows you to create mental distance from your daily routine and provides a good launching point for a day’s activities.

*** "The Great American Staycation: How to Make a Vacation at Home Fun for the Whole Family (and Your Wallet!)" is now available. You can find it in stores or online.

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