How I Turned My Day-to-Day Life Into a Mini Vacation — for Free

A strict budgeter shares how to make your life a vacation.

When I began my debt-free journey over two years ago, vacations and travel were among the first expenses to be culled from my budget. Because a typical vacation for me was spent abroad, it meant a long flight and waking up in a foreign land, full of excitement for exploring and experiencing a new culture and the delights of the local fare. But as you can probably imagine, it’s not cheap to travel that way.

Though eliminating travel has absolutely helped us knock off a few debts, I really miss the adventures. But I refuse to be tempted into paying for travel with credit. And, with no credit cards or access to credit, if I want to take a vacation, I need to pay for it with savings.

Read More: Tips to Live a Cash-Only Life

Since I’ve chosen to prioritize my debt over taking a trip, I’m making changes to my day-to-day life to make it more like a vacation instead.

Seven Ways I Make Day-to-Day Life More Like a Vacation

1. I Break the Routine

When I’m on vacation, there’s no set time for things that happen in day-to-day life. Grocery shopping doesn’t have to happen on Saturday morning. I don’t have to wake up at a set time.

Now, I like to change something up every week. Maybe I’ll do the grocery shopping a day early, for example, which makes for a nice change on Saturday morning, when I can do something else instead.

2. I Start or End the Day at the Beach

Now that my family is accustomed to the occasional break in routine, it’s easy to randomly throw everyone in the car and head to the beach whenever. Even if the weather isn’t the best, we just head to our favorite seaside cafe. After all, that’s what we would do on vacation.

Check Out: Best Hidden Beaches to Visit for All Budgets

3. I Spend More Time Outside

When I’m on vacation, it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing — I want to get out there and do, see and experience everything that the location has to offer. I try to remember this principle when at home. I make the most of all sorts of weather. Luckily, my 3-year-old likes puddles.

4. I Have Siestas

When I traveled in Italy, all the shops and cafes would close in the middle of the day, so there was nothing else to do except either swim, read or sleep. Now, on hot days, we get out of the house early and take downtime in the middle of the day — just like the Italians.

5. I Keep an Eye on Local Activities

Especially during school vacations, there are new and exciting things for kids to do locally, and many of them are free. So, I keep an eye out for fun activities that I can slot into an otherwise ordinary day. I try to make the most of what my home city has to offer — which is exactly what I would do when traveling to a new city.

More on Free Fun: Free Things to Do in Every State

6. I Visit New Local Locations

It always surprises me how I can drive past a local monument or landmark every day and never think twice about visiting it. Once I do finally visit, I always wonder why I hadn’t been before. It feels just like a new experience I would have gained on vacation in a new city.

7. I Switch From Online to Analog

When I’m on vacation, access to WiFi can be expensive and slow, so I tend not to use it a lot. Instead, I’ll pick up a book and read. At home, this translates to “tech-free family time,” where we turn the WiFi off and read or play instead.

Though doing all this doesn’t replace a good vacation, it makes day-to-day life just a little bit more like one, and that might just sustain me until I go on a real adventure.

Click through to discover amazing winter staycation ideas.

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