Ideas for Frugal Summer Vacation Fun at Home

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We all need a vacation every now and then. Getting away from the stresses of everyday life for a while leaves us refreshed and gives us a new sense of purpose. But when money is a concern, jetting off to a remote island may not be an option. Even going on a road trip could put an undue strain on the budget.

It can be disappointing when we’re not able to take the vacation of our dreams, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a break. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. More than anything, vacation is a state of mind. If we can get ourselves into that state of mind, we can enjoy ourselves and destress without going far from home.

No matter where you live, there’s something inexpensive you can do during summer vacation. Here are some ideas:

* Get acquainted with the arts in your area. Visit nearby galleries, or take in a show put on by the local theatre troop. Large cities may have more to choose from when it comes to art, but most smaller cities and towns have something to offer too. You might be surprised at what you find if you try.

* Plan a camping trip. Whether you rent a spot from a campground or just set up a tent in the back yard, camping is a great way to break the monotony without breaking the bank. There’s just something about roasting marshmallows and sleeping under the stars that soothes the spirit.

* Visit a museum. Chances are there’s a museum of some kind in your town. Whether it’s a history museum or just some wacky collection, it will be a learning experience.

* Take advantage of the park system. State and national parks are wonderful recreation destinations, and they offer lots of activities that are cheap or free. Some have lakes that you can swim, boat or fish in, and most have hiking trails. There are also picnic areas, and some parks host special events for the public.

* Set up your own water park in the back yard. Invest in a quick-set pool, a slip and slide, some water guns and other inexpensive water toys. You can have lots of fun without the crowds for less than the price of a couple of days’ admission at most water parks.

* Organize a block party. Have each guest bring a dish, fire up the grill and set up the badminton net. If everyone pitches in, each person’s costs will be minimal and everybody will have lots of fun.

No matter what you do during your vacation, it’s important that you relax. The idea is to take a break from work and everyday life, not to stay close enough to keep tabs on it. So resist the urge to check your email incessantly or go back to work early.

Vacationing at home has become a popular way to save money. But it doesn’t have to be a sentence to boredom. If you treat it like a true vacation and make it a point to schedule things to do, an at-home vacation can be just as fun and beneficial as a trip to a traditional vacation spot.

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