Vacation, time off…there is never enough time. Most people have the preconceived notion that to get away you have to hop on a plane or drive hours to escape. A “daycation” could do the trick, no vacation time needed. You have to do “day trips” right to fully benefit.
1. Plan. Do the research. I’ve been to almost all 50 states. Trust me. There is plenty to do across the U.S.; some of which you can do for little to no cost. Order a state visitors guide. They come complete with things to do in each region of the state, complete with parks, museums, festivals and more than enough to get you going with a plan for a day trip or two. Be sure to give 1-2 weeks for it to arrive. Also, some large cities, like New York, have visitor guides. You can always Google “things to do in _________” and research a location of choice. I prefer the guides as they are the state’s best, because they want to highlight the best they have to offer. The Internet can be based solely on someone’s opinion, so do what works.
2. Leave early. The early bird gets the worm. You want to maximize the day, so getting up early is key. Exactly how early you will need to get up will depend on travel time from home to the destination, as well as, the agenda that you have set. Overall, leaving early will allow you to get more done in the day and enjoy it in the process.
3. Look for discounts. Try to keep costs low. We’re all trying to save a few bucks, so use discount programs like AAA, Costco, and Sam’s Club. Look into National Park Service and American Alliance of Museums memberships if you’re a frequent visitor; annual memberships save money in the long run. Most major companies, such as Verizon, Bank of America, Citi Card, etc., offer discounts, incentives, or points for being a customer. Also, look into Groupon. You could luck up and find a discount on an activity for the location you’re visiting.
4. Prepare food. Pack food. You’ll save money by eating breakfast at home, and packing snacks and lunch. Having food on hand saves time and money, and allows you to maximize day trips. If your day trip takes you outdoors, packing a lunch guarantees your selection, and you won’t have to go out of your way to find something. It also allows you to move easily from excursion to excursion.
5. Cash Flow. Have dough. You never know when you’ll need it. It is always nice to have funds for parking, tips, cab fare, and whatever else calls for cash only. There is nothing worse than needing it and not having it or trying to find an ATM in a rural area. Bring cash.
6. Know where you’re going. Get Directions. Yes, I know you have a map app on your smartphone. I know your car may have a satellite to access directions, or maybe not. I’ve been in pretty remote locations with no cell phone service, and luckily I knew where I was going. Relying on satellites and cell phone signals can be dangerous. I suggest getting the directions ahead of time and taking a screen shot of them. That way no matter what you have directions from home to point B, point B to point C, etc.
7. Stay overnight. Make it a real getaway. Book a cool hotel, bed & breakfast, or pick a spot from the newly popular Airbnb. If you can save money with an activity or two, then you can use the extra money to spend the night somewhere. Then, you get a full day away from home, and you can take your time heading back the next day.
Daycations are the next best thing to both weekend trips and vacations. A quick getaway to a place you’ve never been is a great way to break the monotony of your daily life. And, it won’t break the bank or interfere with other bigger trips you may have planned. Take a day and escape.