Here's a look at some vacation destinations and roadside attractions - some quirky, others rooted in nature and history - that are truly all American.More >
Pack up the car and channel your inner Clark Griswold for a summer vacation steeped in Americana. Here's a look at some vacation destinations and roadside attractions - some quirky, others rooted in nature and history - that are truly all American.More >
(RNN) – If Merriam-Webster is the standard on whether a word jumps from slang to acceptable speech, "staycation" passes with flying colors.
Joining other pop culture terms like "frenemy" and "flash mob," the staycation is now embedded in both the pages of the world's most respected dictionary and the lexicon of countless travelers looking for a getaway on the cheap.
But what, exactly, is a staycation? And why has it become so popular in recent years?
The simple answer: money.
Staycations offer simple, cost-effective ways to enjoy downtime and provide an extended outing to your family.
The idea is to find something unique to do that's within your area or even in your own hometown.
Some staycationers – yes, that's an actual word, too – don't even leave their houses.
Tips for staycations are all over the internet, but here are a few pared down to give you the best experience possible:
1. A staycation is not an excuse to do housework – You can pick another weekend to clean out the garage. Besides, the point is to do something that relaxes you. If you want to get your hands dirty, find some internet lessons on pottery making.
Hard as it may be for some, try turning off your phone and TV and don't answer emails to avoid distractions.
2. Travel thousands of miles without leaving your front door - Instead of saving up to go to your dream destination, bring it to you. Dress up your house in the theme of a country and cook native food for a few days or the entire week. This is also a really fun and educational tool for your kids.
3. Go museum hopping – Don't automatically think of high art and rooms so quiet you can hear your heart beating. Some towns have really cool museums that honor everything from guns and transportation history to music and movies. Even traditional art museums have summer exhibits on really interesting topics.
After a few hours on your feet, why not have a picnic on the museum grounds?
4. Think outside the box - Staycationidea.com suggested a trip to Alcatraz for those who live in the San Francisco area. There are even plans in the works to provide overnight stays on the island. Hmmm.
If you're adventurous and creative, and just a little bit wacky, a boot camp experience or a fantasy sports camp might be up your alley.
5. Learn more about your hometown – Every place has a story and at least one small claim to fame. Try looking through newspaper archives and interviewing longtime residents of your town. Use what you found to map out a tour of the area.
6. Research your genealogy – Not only is this a good way to find out more about what makes your identity, it's practically free. If your family has strong local ties, you could integrate visits to places your ancestors lived.
7. Don't forget the kids –Most kids are creative enough to entertain themselves when there is virtually nothing to do, so use that to your advantage. Talk to them about what they've learned in school, and try to find a way to make that come to life. It will take financial pressure off you, and it will reinforce their education in the process.
8. Get some help – Livingsocial.com lists restaurants, shops and other attractions that you can search by city, and it offers significant discounts. Sutro Media sells iPhone apps for just about every major U.S. city. You can use them this summer or year-round to find things in your town you've never heard of.
9. Take a camping trip – This was the ultimate staycation before the term even existed. It's simple, fun and it can literally be done in your backyard.
10. Read until you pass out – Make a list of all the classics or quirky comedies you never got around to reading, make a pile by your favorite chair and have at it. Realsimple.com suggested making a personal dictionary of unique words or phrases that you like. If that's not your style, an alternative is to create a personal film festival.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
Weird accommodation options are part of Airbnb's charm, so we'd like to propose seven current listings that should be verified immediately.More >
Weird accommodation options are part of Airbnb's charm, so we'd like to propose seven current listings that should be verified immediately. If these folks are offering what they say they're offering, we just might book a night or two. More >