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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Planning a Great Fall Staycation

I know there are a lot of fantastic budget-friendly vacation destinations for Fall, but sometimes that's just not in the cards. We don't always have the extra money to spend on a getaway, even though we desperately need/want one. It's times like these that I recommend a staycation, even if it just means you're a tourist in your city for a day. 

I love to see everything there is around me. Portland and the surrounding cities are so interesting and pretty, plus there's always something going on all year. I bet most of you have similar cities, even if you don't think so. A quick Google search will tell you differently. Here are some of my favorite activities:

Eric of the corn!

Visit a farm

This is one of my favorite ways to spend weekends during September and October when I'm not traveling. I love a corn maze and often hit up a local farm that has a pumpkin patch, maze, cider donuts and animals. I want to eat some fall foods, drink some cider, get lost in the corn. Sometimes we bring the dog to get some exercise and then pig out on whatever food they're serving. 

This last weekend we went to a farm we'd never been to before to take pictures, go on a hayride, and try their corn maze. It was the first maze we'd been to that didn't have some sort of signage, but it was 1 mile and we got lost and got our steps in, so I call that a win. Most farms have a lot of things to do for kids, so it's a relatively cheap way to spend the day and let them jump and run out all that extra energy.

Hint: If it's been raining, be prepared for mud. I always wear boots and bring a change of shoes for after trekking through the dirt/mud/puddles to head home in.

Head to a nearby city you haven't been to before

I'm a fan of just bundling up, packing a bag of snacks, and just driving off somewhere I've never been. Each new town has funky shops and restaurants and scenery. Spend the day exploring to feel like you're traveling and then go back home. It's a fairly cheap way to enjoy a day doing something different and being somewhere unfamiliar. If you bring a lunch, you can even forgo eating out, so you're basically just paying for gas.

Hit up a local festival

Most people only think about festivals during the summer, but when fall rolls around, there are entirely different festivals, like apple tasting, pumpkin carving, harvest fests and more. Look for a calendar on local events and find any of the festivals that sound cool and interesting and then make a plan to go to them. Just some of the things happening around here: Cider Fest, Giant Pumpkin Regatta (yep, people use huge, hollowed out pumpkins as boats), Howloween at the Oregon Zoo, Killer Pumpkin Festival featuring pumpkin beers, and The Spirit of Halloweentown. It's easy to pack a whole weekend with these things, and it's way cheaper than a trip.

Go wine tasting

If you live in an area that has a lot of wines, or even just one really good winery, plan a tour and then try all the wines on offer that sound delicious. If you do this, make sure you have a sober ride home. Also, lots of wineries have great restaurants on-site, so you can make a whole day of it, and make sure you have something in your stomach to keep you from getting way too drunk. Some places, like Portland, have winery tours where a bus will take you winery hopping over the course of a day. It also means you don't have to worry about having a DD. (If you don't like wine, check out some breweries or distilleries.)

Hole up in a hotel somewhere

Sure, you may not be able to afford a full-on vacation, but that doesn't mean you can't book yourself into a nice hotel for a couple night, order room service, do things in a part of town you don't hang out in often. Keep your eye out for hotel deals or call one you've always wanted to stay in and see if they'll cut you a deal.

Host a "destination" potluck 

Call some friends, choose a vacation destination, like Italy, and ask them all to bring a dish from that country. You may not be able to go there, but you can spend a little on decor and food to immerse you in that destination. Your friends who also can't afford to go on a vacation will probably be super grateful and excited. Make it easy on them and post a list of regional dishes they can bring if they don't want to research. Then pop a couple bottles of wine, play some games or create a slideshow of tourist spots to scroll through on your TV and really make it feel like you're there!

See the leaves turn
Right now, Portland is in peak season to see the changing leaves. Unleash your inner leaf-peeper and take a drive or just walk around a new neighborhood looking at the gorgeous colors. Make a point to take pictures and post them later on Facebook or Instagram to show everyone how pretty your city is dressed in reds, oranges, and yellows. Maybe you'll inspire other people to appreciate what's going on around them.

If you want more ideas on how to plan an awesome staycation, check out my Pinterest board

What's been your favorite staycation or staycation activity?

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