As we welcome the arrival of fall and the 2023/24 school year, it’s worth acknowledging that many of us may be experiencing the Summer Blues as the result of high interest rates and historical inflation. In 2023, you might have felt forced to choose between making new vacation memories or sticking to a strict budget. If you did, you certainly weren’t alone.

If you’ve got a case of the blues because this wasn’t your year for passport stamping or hitting the open road, have you considered planning a staycation? Being a tourist in your own town can give you an opportunity to rest and recharge your batteries without wreaking havoc on your monthly credit card bill.

As the folks over at NerdWallet point out, “While the social distancing days of the pandemic may be past us, concerns over inflation, air travel chaos and gas prices make the staycation as appealing an option as ever in 2023.”

A staycation is more than just a cost-effective alternative to travel. It’s a chance to reconnect with your surroundings without the stress of travel logistics. By choosing to stay local, you can plan a staycation anytime during the year, depending on what works best for you and your household. Plus, depending on your geographical location, fall and winter can be an ideal time to explore as you won’t be competing with summer crowds if you decide to scope out popular destinations in your area.

Here are a few strategies to help you plan a staycation that will rejuvenate your spirit without sacrificing your financial peace of mind.

Be Intentional with Boundaries

Don’t think of staycation solely as a compromise; it’s a conscious decision to prioritize both your financial well-being and your mental health. Be intentional in treating your staycation like a real vacation – set boundaries with work and personal responsibilities that will allow you to truly disconnect and unwind.

Put your out-of-office on, silence work-related notifications, and consider limiting your time on social media, especially if that’s been a source of FOMO for you lately. This is your time to unwind, be present, and pause the perpetual scrolling of your friends’ activities (he might not have been around in the age of Instagram, but Theodore Roosevelt had a point when he said “Comparison is the thief of joy.”)

Pamper Yourself

Luxe resort stays aren’t the only way to nourish your mind and body. Treat yourself to activities you don’t typically prioritize amidst school or work demands.

Engage in mindfulness activities such as outdoor yoga, meditation, or nature walks if you have proximity to beaches, hikes or scenic parks that can offer inspiring views. Many fitness studios also offer “first class free” promotions for newcomers if you want to try a class without the upfront financial commitment.

If you prefer the indoors, indulge in a DIY spa-themed evening or transform one of the spaces in your home into a personal theater. A blank wall can double as a surface for a projector and the addition of cozy blankets, pillows and snacks can elevate a movie marathon.

If you’re wanting a more luxurious experience without booking a hotel room, sites like ResortPass allow you to enjoy local hotel pools and spas for the day, with prices starting at $25 per person.

Try Something New

Is there a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try forever and just haven’t gotten around to it? Have you been contemplating a cooking or baking class to expand your home chef skillset? A staycation can be a great chance to experience new flavors or experiment with recipes at home. Some cities also offer walking food tours that give you a sampling of the best your area has to offer.

Other new activities you might try in your area could be exploring a museum—inquire about Free Admission Days, as this is often a way to incentivize visitors. Catch a live performance at a local music venue or if you’re looking for a family friendlier option, visit a local theme park (which often boast lower rates in the fall or on weekdays).

With student loan repayments resuming for many next month and holiday planning looming in the not-so-distant future, consider making your next vacation a staycation so that you can create memories without sacrificing your savings. And if you want tips on how to build a budget that accommodates future fun (local or abroad!) connect with one of our counselors for friendly, nonjudgmental financial guidance.