If you’re one of the thousands of Americans foregoing a vacation away this summer in exchange for a money-saving “staycation” (we’re right there with you), there are a few things you can do to prepare your home (and make your staycation more enjoyable)…

  • Put away clutter and reminders of your day-to-day life. Clear out all the newspapers, junk mail, school papers, bills, etc. Got a stack of your regular magazine subscriptions on the coffee table? Toss ’em. Everything else, shove it in a drawer till next week.
  • If you want some casual reading material, pick up a couple of magazines you don’t normally read and put them on the coffee table. Add a couple of comic books or word search books for the kids.
  • Put new sheets and bedding on your beds. Instead of your everyday bedding, pull out an alternative, or use this time to purchase a new set.
  • Make sure your grill is in good shape, clean, with plenty of charcoal or propane.
  • Collect a few recipes for new dishes, things you’ve never tried or treats you enjoyed on vacations past. Purchase all the ingredients – and don’t forget exotic spices or ingredients you may not have in your pantry.
  • Borrow or rent videos or board games from friends – games you don’t already own. Your family can discover and learn to play new favorites together.
  • Change your schedule…have brunch instead of breakfast and lunch one day…have a late dinner another day…maybe a midnight snack like make-your-own sundaes, or popcorn.
  • Explore local historic sites, visit a theme park, have a picnic at a new location, or enjoy dinner out at a restaurant across town.

Are you noticing a trend here? Most of these tips involve getting out of your regular routine and bringing home some of the experiences you’d normally have while traveling.

A staycation doesn’t have to mean giving up something; if you approach it like a new experience, and focus on good times that you share with family, then home sweet home (with a few fresh details) can be the location for some of your best summer memories ever.