10 Tips for the Ultimate Summer Staycation

NO PASSPORT NECESSARY

Everyone deserves a break from the daily grind, whether it's an all-out excursion to somewhere tropical or some low-key vacation time. In a recent survey commissioned by FatWallet, 81 percent of respondents said they were planning a summer vacation this year. But if funds are tight, a "staycation" is in order. Take a week off and enjoy your city as never before -- like a tourist.

AVOID THE HOUSEWORK TRAP

Being at home doesn't preclude you from taking a true break: Put the laptop away and don't bother with housework or projects. You might even consider hiring a maid service. Sure, you may need to do a load of laundry and load the dishwasher every night, but chances are you would do those chores at a beach house, as well.

SET A STAYCATION BUDGET

The beauty of a staycation is that you aren't paying for airfare, accommodation, and other travel costs. This allows a little extra spending to make a staycation comfortable and exciting. Still, that's no excuse for blowing your cash on shopping or pricey excursions. Set a budget in advance and plan activities within it.

TAKE DAY TRIPS

Do some research and find attractions within easy driving distance. Within two to three hours of Columbus, Ohio, for instance, are two amusement parks (Cedar Point and Kings Island), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and hiking opportunities in the scenic Old Man's Cave area of Hocking Hills State Park.

HIT AN ATTRACTION DOWN THE STREET

Rather than going to a museum somewhere else, find one in your city. Maybe you haven't been there since a school field trip. If that doesn't appeal, go to the zoo or a local art gallery. You're bound to find a worthy staycation attraction in your immediate area.

TAKE THE FAMILY OUT TO THE BALLGAME

Think about sporting events you may be itching to see. Is your city home to a major or minor league baseball team? Take in an afternoon game -- fewer people, cheaper admission, and a full day of fun.
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TAKE A TOUR OF YOUR CITY

Does a local company offer walking tours? Bike tours? Maybe Segway tours? Take one and check out all the sites you probably miss going about your daily business. If you can't find a tour, plan your own. Map out some sites you don't normally visit and spend the day exploring and learning about your city.

HAVE A SPA DAY

Vacation means a little bit of pampering, even if you don't go far from home. As a townie, you may have an easier time finding discounts for a spa day. Keep an eye out for coupons, special offers, and discounts leading up to your staycation. Cash them in and leave feeling refreshed and renewed.

GO FOR A SWIM

No vacation, whether away or at home, is a true summer vacation without a day of swimming. Fortunately, nearly every town has a public swimming spot where you can bring lunch and spend hours splashing and lounging. Soon you may even forget you're in your hometown.

TRY A NEW SPORT

Golfing, tennis, rollerblading, and hiking all count as fun and mostly cheap staycation activities. You may not be a regular on the golf course, but this is the perfect time to try an out-of-the-norm pursuit for a day. What else is on your list?

ENJOY SOME DOWN TIME

Vacation or staycation -- either one should involve a little R and R. When at home, take advantage of your backyard or patio, play some music, grill a favorite meal, read a good book, try landscape painting, sip a glass of wine -- whatever helps you relax and enjoy your surroundings.