Fancy a budget weekend break? Why not enjoy some home comforts with a staycation

In these budget-conscious times, the term Staycation has become a media buzzword, but more often than not it’s used incorrectly. A staycation isn’t going away for a weekend break in your own country. That’s just a holiday. A staycation is a holiday based from your home. Without having to travel, there are none of the stresses or costs to you or the environment, and no worries about what the room will be like. Moreover, if you love the local restaurants you discover, the activities you try or the places you visit, it’s easy to go there again, because they are all within easy reach of where you live.

Preparation

1. You may be at home, but you are on holiday! Give yourself a budget. Work out what you’d normally spend when all the flights, hotels, hire cars and meals are added up, and then set yourself a budget for your staycation. It’s bound to be a lot less whatever you plan to do, but if you know you have money to spend you’ll feel much more relaxed about splashing out on a restaurant normally out of your budget or an extra treatment at the spa.

2. Look for special offers for tourists coming to your neck of the woods, such as two-for-one offers and family discounts. A good place to start planning your staycation is the website of Visit Britain.

3. It’s holiday time, so switch off your alarm clock. You can get up when you want! And do you really need to keep your cell phone and PDA on? Maybe just keep one mobile active for arranging activities and booking restaurants, although you could just turn them off and use your home phone… or even be old school and use pay phones while out and enjoy the freedom of being uncontactable.

Travel

4. Hire a bike, or a tandem if you like. The Bike Sharing blog features every single urban bikehire scheme in Europe.

5. Do one cultural thing every visitor to your city does, like in London take a tour of the Houses of Parliament and go up the London Eye. Leave your cynicism behind, book your tickets and join the rest of the holiday makers. How about take a ride on an open top bus. You can often something about your city you never knew, and enjoy the thrill of sitting in the morning sunshine on the top deck, driving past pavements of commuters in suits. Alternatively, wait till the crowds have subsided and join a walking tour of your home town. Walkit has advice for those on foot in a growing number of UK cities.

6. Consider taking a day trip. Find out where your nearest beach is, whether it’s a train journey out of the city, by a nearby lake, or even one of those urban beaches springing up in major cities around the world, and have a day out. Or look for the cheap deals including travel and attraction and make a day of it. Waterscape has information on all Britain’s lakes, canals and rivers and the attractions found on and along them. Alternatively Walking Routes features trails and paths all over the UK.

7. Put the fun back into flying – the low impact way – by finding your nearest gliding or paragliding club and book yourself a flight. The British Gliding Club and British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association are good places to start.

Food and Drink

8. Head to the farmers market. Not necessarily the nearest one – go to the best one. Make an outing of it, coming back perhaps with food for a slap up meal at home.  Local Food Advisor has guides to the best in British local cuisine, from restaurants to farmers markets and shops.

9. Go out for meals like you would abroad. Start your weekend break with a leisurely breakfast – maybe at a posh hotel, or somewhere serving brunch. Go for a picnic in the nearest (or furthest) park. Have theme days where you only eat the cuisine of one country, or go round the world and eat in from a different national restaurant for every meal.

Activities

10. Why does it take going abroad to get us back on a horse, windsurfing or improving photography. coursesplus.co.uk/sportrecreation lists several sports and recreational courses in the UK.

11. Volunteer. Giving something back while on holiday can be one of the most rewarding ways to connect with a local area and its people. So why not do it at home and benefit from meeting a few more people where you live?  Contact local charities, nature groups and schools to find out what needs doing in your area and spend one day or a few hours helping out. The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers does exactly what its name suggests, and is always looking for people to help out in the UK and futher afield.

12. Share. Tell me what you think. What are your ideas for the best ways to holiday at home. What would your dream domestic weekend break be?