For the last couple years now the idea of going on a summer “staycation,” not a vacation, has been all the rage. Bloggers across the frugal landscape touted the financial benefits of staying put, becoming a tourist in your own town, or spending a week working around the house. I even wrote a couple posts extolling the benefits of a family summer vacation at home. Well, for me “staycation” is a worn out term. This summer, I want to take a real vacation.
A picture I took inside Cades Cove, from our last vacation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Our family hasn’t been on vacation in a few years now, and this past year has been an extremely trying one with two major medical crises affecting our family (for those who don’t know, or don’t remember, my mom suffered an aneurysm and stroke, and is still recovering some ten months later). Another close relative has been battling illness. Frankly, we’re a little worn down. I’d like to see different scenery, and smell some fresh air, even if it is just a long weekend.
So, looking ahead to this year’s summer vacation I had the idea to head to the Smoky Mountains for a relaxing few days. Unfortunately, I burned through most of my personal leave at work, so our summer vacation plans will have to work around a long weekend. Still, it will be fun to take a short timeout from the daily grind.
Of course, we’ll have to vacation with cash since we no longer borrow money. This is not a show-stopper, but will require a bit of planning. I’ve created a “vacation” fund at our online savings account and will put away a bit from each paycheck between now and late July to prepare for our trip. Ideally, I’d like to return to the mountains when fall colors are at their peak, which may require a second long weekend in October.
Staycations are great for those trying to get out of debt, or saving for a specific, short-term purpose (i.e. a down payment on a house, etc.). However, if your debt snowball or savings plan will take more than a couple years, I recommend finding a way to take a short, cheap summer vacation with cash. We all need a little break every now and then, and admitting to it makes us no less dedicated to our financial turnaround.