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6 ways to maximize a staycation

6 ways to maximize a staycation

Theo Thimou April 7, 2016
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Don’t despair if going on a far-flung vacation to a beautiful locale isn’t in the books for you this summer. Here are some ways you can maximize your staycation!

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1. First things first: Take all the vacation you have coming!

A new survey from Harris Interactive showed that the average American left nine days of vacation on the table last year. That’s almost unbelievable. Compared to the Europeans, we get almost no vacation at all. And here we have people forfeiting almost two full work weeks!

We went through a phase where people were working themselves silly because they thought they’d be laid off if they took a vacation. While that may have been true in some cases, that trend has now mostly reversed and people should be availing themselves of what’s called “paid time off” (PTO) at many companies. Taking vacation makes you a better employee because you come back fresher!

2. Don’t overlook free attractions in metro areas

You can always find a way to get away without having to break the bank or remain tethered to your home or apartment. Popular options include going to state parks, renting a cabin or even staying at an inexpensive motel. If you do business with Bank of America, they have a program that provides free access to more than 150 museums across the country on select days of the month.

3. Get to know the local innkeepers

Ask local innkeepers if they have a “locals” mailing list that you can subscribe to for spur of the moment kind of deals. Many lodging properties are more inclined to offer a discount last-minute than they are for a reservation made months in advance. They may have a mailing list divided up into several segments, including ‘super locals.’ If you can make a buying decision and be there within a very short period of time, you may get a deal.

In addition, many properties make special deals available for their Facebook and Twitter fans. Like the page of your favorites to get in on the action.

4. Don’t forget the local coupon books

Coupon books can actually work better for staycationers than for out-of-towners. Nobody can dine at 10 restaurants while they’re vacationing for a couple of days, but they certainly can enjoy these coupons over time if they live in the area.

5. Look at the daily deal sites

Although they’ve fallen from favor in recent years, daily deal sites like Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com still offer deeply discounted “experience” packages right in your own backyard. A recent check of these sites revealed 64% off exotic automobile driving, 48% off helicopter flights and 23% off a BYOB painting class, to name just a few possibilities.

6. Check out a cheap summer flick

The Regal Summer Movie Express is the perfect summer option for parents this summer. You can take your kids to a super cheap weekday morning movie for just $1. All films shown are rated either G or PG. More info here on our new Clark Deals site!

Read more: What your guests notice most about your home

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Theo Thimou is director of content for ClarkHoward.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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