shutterstock_163015049_webThanks, Mail Carrier guest blogger Xenia Sundell gives her tips on planning the perfect staycation!

As this long, cold winter is finally nearing its end, ideas of springtime, sunshine and warm weather are on the minds of families everywhere. (Bring on the changing of the seasons!)

But while some parents might be planning their spring break vacations, many of us would rather just stock up on great ideas that we can explore and enjoy right within our own city — or even within our own home!

Why not incorporate some creativity, a little planning and some smart budgeting into staycation ideas the whole family can enjoy? Start off by designating an amount of time (a single day, a weekend, the full week, etc.), do a little searching online for events and happenings in your area, or pick up a few Restaurant.com certificates, and you’ll be set to go without breaking the bank!

Here are some great ways to Staycation on a budget!

1. Visit local attractions. Just about every city has museums, zoos, libraries, indoor water parks, historical societies and more that are either free or inexpensive. Spend an afternoon or two visiting your favorites or checking out new ones that your family has yet to visit!

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2. Lunch and indoor fun. Go out to lunch and bowling, or head in for some fun mini golf and then for a bite to eat!

3. Dinner and a movie. The classic combination can be more than just date night! See if there is one film title that everyone can agree on (this may be easy or difficult, depending on the ages of your children), and find a new or well-loved restaurant near the theater to make a complete evening out of it.

4. Themed meal and activity. Take your lunch or dinner and activity to a new level by crafting the day around a particular theme. For example:

  • Go swimming at your local YMCA, and afterwards go out to eat for your favorite seafood.
  • Do crafts focusing on Italy (cutting and pasting of the flag, drawing the country, etc.) and then head out for a meal at your favorite Italian joint!

5. Bring your dream travel destination home for dinner! Nearly all restaurants offer carry-out or delivery options, right? So, if you are wishing you are relaxing on the beach in the Caribbean right now, pick up a spread of delicious island food, lay out a blanket on the living room floor and have an island-themed picnic instead!

shutterstock_93647632_web6. Game night. Another classic that can easily be adapted or altered depending on your family’s ages and preferences. Pull out a stack of board games, pop in a frozen pizza (or have one delivered), and be ready for an evening of laughter and good times!

7. Spa day. Collect your favorite essential oils, scrubs, masks, polishes and more and spend an afternoon soaking in the tub and trading off soothing foot rubs. For an extra splurge, find a massage therapist that makes house calls so that you can professionally relax your muscles.

8. Local transit. Staying within your own city doesn’t mean that you can’t see the other side of town or possibly even a neighboring one! Check your city’s bus, trolley, train or rail schedule and get the whole family in on planning a route, including spots to hop on and off and what might be seen there.

When you’re not focused on driving your car to a particular location, you just might be surprised at how much fun sightseeing is. And not to mention the new museums, shops or restaurants that you can find along the way!

9. Host a sleepover. There is something innately fun about slumber parties! Encourage your children to invite a friend or two over and plan an evening around the giggles and laughter that come with rolling out the sleeping bags!

10. Thrift store shopping. This might be my own personal favorite, as there is nothing like scoring a great find at a thrift store. Whether you browse the racks of clothing, the household goods, the games and books, the sports gear or more, finding just the right sweater, vase or picture frame and knowing that the “splurge” of purchasing it is only a tiny percentage of how much it is worth can make anyone’s day.

Xenia Sundell family photo_webAbout Xenia Sundell:

Xenia Sundell is a stay-at-home mom to two gorgeous girls and the wife to a sweet (and usually exhausted) workaholic. After realizing just how much she and the girls enjoyed the ‘vroooom’ sound of the mail truck coming down the block, Xenia started Thanks, Mail Carrier in 2009, a blog focusing on family-friendly reviews and giveaways of the best products, companies, and services that can be delivered right to your front door. Featuring honest and entertaining posts for the whole family as well as humor, recipes, travel, photos and more, this social media mom has tried it all and enjoys passing along the details that can help consumers when thinking about their next purchase.