7 Affordable Staycation Ideas for Your Labor Day Weekend

Person wearing trekking pants and hiking boots relaxing laying in camping hammock overlooking summer forest at sunset.
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Labor Day weekend offers one last opportunity to feel like you’re on vacation before summer is officially over. It can be hard to get very far away for such a short period of time, but most people would rather avoid travel hassles such as traffic and busy airports, anyway. Even if you were planning on traveling, the Delta variant of the coronavirus has added new frustrations and potential limits. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do close to home, saving money in the process. Here are several affordable ideas for your own staycation.

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Go Camping

Labor Day weekend may be the end of summer, but for many people, summer weather is still here, so why not take advantage of a camping trip. Chaz Wyland, founder of SnowMobileHow and an avid traveler, said you don’t have to go very far. “To turn a camping experience into a staycation, I highly recommend spending a night under the stars, even if it’s your own backyard. Lay out a tent and some blankets or sleeping bag, cook some s’mores over the campfire, and search for some shooting stars.”

Make Your Money Work for You

While some locations require advance booking, most camping spots are low in cost, and you can pack your own food. If you already have your own camping equipment, your costs would be super low, even free, if it’s your own backyard. If you needed to purchase equipment, plus reserve a spot, you can get the whole kit and caboodle of camping basics, from tent to cooler to camp chair and more for under $200, according to Reserve America.

Borrow a Friend’s Home

If you have friends and family who like to travel over this holiday weekend and whose homes you find inviting, peaceful or enticing, Cathy Mills, director of strategy for Influence Weekly, said, “Ask them if you can use their gardens, their houses, or their holiday houses. By doing this, you will change the environment and won’t have to pay for a quiet and different weekend.”

This can be especially nice if they have a pool or live near a lake or other beautiful locale. Even if you offer to pay something to stay, it will most likely be cheaper than a hotel, and without any competing guests, either.

Rent a Local Hotel

If you want the perks of being on vacation, such as a clean room where you don’t have to wash the sheets or make the bed, plus room service and other amenities, consider renting a local hotel — then you won’t have to travel far — by looking for deals. “Get in touch with the hotel and let them know you live nearby and would like to learn more about their services,” said David Adler, founder and CEO of The Travel Secret. “You might be able to find a fantastic deal and enjoy a relaxing weekend.”

The average cost of a hotel night in the U.S. is $90.92, according to Statista. While hotels can vary wildly, less or more than this, if you use a deal through somewhere like Groupon or a rewards program, you can keep costs low.

Make Your Money Work for You

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town or Region

If you live somewhere with tourist attractions you’ve tended to avoid because, well, tourists, make this weekend your opportunity to play tourist yourself. For those who live in bigger cities, you can even “bundle” attractions together with discounts through such things as CityPass and Go City, according to Travel and Leisure.

Enjoy a Local Spa

Maybe you don’t want to go far from home, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on some of the pampering that can come with vacation. Hit up the local spa in your town and book a massage, mani/pedi or facial. The average cost of a one-hour massage is around $60, according to the University of Minnesota (though it can range closer to $100 and up in certain areas). The average cost of a facial ranges from $35 to $100 and up depending on the services you obtain, according to Thervo.com. And you will pay around $10 to $45 for a manicure and $15 to $50 for a pedicure, according to Cost Helper.

Go on a Picnic, Walk or Bike Ride

Just getting out during the day can make you feel as though you’re on vacation, even if you sleep at home. Tanya Peterson, vice president of brand for Freedom Financial Network, recommends taking a picnic or going on a walk or bike ride somewhere you haven’t gone before. “Choose a park or other venue that’s not too far away. You may be surprised how different things are when visiting by bike or foot instead of car.” At most, you will pay the cost of the picnic lunch you brought.

Turn Off All Your Tech

Peterson also said you can make any day off feel like a vacation by turning off all your tech, phones, iPads, ignoring emails and so on. “Alert appropriate friends, family members and clients of your vacation days.” Fortunately, it’s totally free to disconnect.

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Last updated: Sept. 1, 2021

About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.

 

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