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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Your Best Summer Staycation

If you can't afford a summer vacay this year, you aren't alone. Summer is, notoriously, the most expensive times to travel, though there are some places where it is the off season and more affordable. I wrote about a handful in my most recent newsletter*, but you might also be saving for a bigger/better trip later in the year. If you are, then take advantage of a staycation this summer.

If you can't afford a summer vacay this year, you aren't alone. You can take advantage of a staycation instead.

We got real good at staycations during the pandemic, because it made us creative. If you need some ideas on how to make this summer your best yet, read on:

Take a drive

There are probably tons of places near you that you haven't been. Gas/charge up your car, pack a cooler with drinks, snacks, and sunscreen, then drive to somewhere nearby for the day or overnight. We used to do this a lot when I was a kid, because we didn't have money for a full-on vacation, but we had money to go out for the day and drive somewhere new. We explored a lot of places 1-3 hours from home and I think I may just start doing this more often now, too. You don't have to have a plan, but I'm sure there are places you've wanted to see, but just haven't gotten there yet.

Take a walk

I've found that when I do a walking tour in my city, I see it a totally different way and I learn a lot of new things. Now, you can totally book a professional tour, which I highly recommend, but if you're looking to save money, you can find free tours in most large cities. You are only expected to give a tip at the end. You can also do a self-guided walking tour through an app like GPS My City. 

See a free concert

Summertime is the best time to get outside and oftentimes the sunny weather comes with outdoor concerts and other entertainment. Check your local listings for a way to get out and do free things. I enjoy Shakespeare in the Park. 

Do a museum tour

When's the last time you went to a new (to you) museum in your city? Maybe a historical building or home? Make a point to visit some that you haven't been to or haven't been to in a while. My goal right now is to go to our Japanese American Museum, but I also haven't been to the Portland Art Museum in a long time, so I hope to get to both of those at some point. If museums aren't for you, go on a street art crawl or visit a sculpture garden, if there is one of those near you. 

Plan some park meetups

City parks can be varied and have totally different vibes, even in close proximity. Get a group of friends together and meet up at a different park each time. Ask everyone to choose their favorite one and plan a get together around that. Everyone can bring a food to share and you can do a picnic and a stroll. 

Hit up your nearest National Park

As you know, I'm not the outdoorsy type, but I know a lot of people are and getting outside is important to them. So, find your nearest National or State Park and go for a hike. If that's not really your thing, switch it up for your nearest arboretum or botanical garden.  

Drink some wine

Now, I'm not a big wine drinker, but even I love a good tasting room. If you're lucky enough to live near a winery (or several), make a day of visiting and exploring the area and drinking some of what they make there. Pretend you're in the French countryside or even in Napa Valley. Some places have buses that will take you out to the vineyards, so you don't have to drive yourself and can drink as much as you want. Remember to drink a lot of water though, because alcohol is dehydrating. If wine isn't your thing, see if there's a local brewery or distillery tour near you. I've got the Aviation Gin distillery tour on my list.

Start a destination dinner (or brunch) group

Get a group of friends who also can't afford a trip somewhere more exciting and rotate choosing a destination to feature for a potluck. Decorate for the destination, crank some appropriate tunes, have each person bring a native dish, and play games where you learn about the place. You can even dress up or teach each other some useful words in a new language. I'm a nerd and always print out some fun facts to put around the party or on the table.  Make it easier by subscribing to Try The World and get 20% off their Summer Food Tour Vacation with code VACAY20.

Go glamping in your backyard

When you want to camp, but you also like the luxury of a bathroom and not sleeping on the ground, set up a tent in the backyard, throw some string lights around, drag some cushions and blankets out there and maybe a small table, then play games, listen to music, have a meal or two delivered, and maybe put up a movie screen and create your own open-air theater. 

Eat around the world at food trucks

If your city has a good food truck scene, then choose a handful that make entirely different cuisines and make a point to hit up as many as possible. You may not get to visit the destinations themselves, but you can enjoy some of their traditional foods, at least. If you're lucky, you can find several in one cart pod, order several things from each, and then everyone can sample some of each dish. I'm a big fan of eating this way.

I hope this has given you some ideas on how to make your summer an awesome and budget-friendly one, even if you have to stay home for the moment. I find that June and July are always packed full of things that one can do, which can be overwhelming and give you a bit of decision fatigue. Portland seems to want to pack as much as possible in the summer months to make up for the rest of the year, when there is either a lack of options or it's cold or rainy or both, making it less than optimal to be outside for that long.

What are some of your favorite ways to staycation?

*this is the sort of extra content you miss if you aren't getting my newsletter. If you subscribe and want this last edition, reply to your confirmation and I'll send a link to you.

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