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Affordable and relaxing vacation ideas near home

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Vaca close to home

You might think spending more time in the city you already live in isn't exactly an ideal way to spend your two weeks off from work, but you couldn't be more wrong. The term "staycation" has been coined just for this reason (or "in-town vacation"). There are plenty of ways for you to relax, enjoy and reinvigorate without spending the money to travel.

Family on Vacation
It's surprising, but many people don't take the paid vacation time their companies give them. It's like free money! But many people feel as if they will get too behind at work or can't afford to go anywhere. However, taking time off from your job will refresh your soul and make you more productive in the long run, but if you decide you can't afford to travel, why not just stay at home?

Enjoy the free time

When you decide to stay at home for your vacation, don't spend it doing housework. Either do a good clean before you "leave" for vacation or hire someone else to do it for you. Even though you're spending your time at home, it doesn't mean you have to do chores. Instead, get started on that stack of books that you haven't had time to read, enjoy a "Lost" DVD marathon, finish that quilt you've been making for years, or indulge in a nice long dinner with friends. It's your free time, use it anyway you like.

Be a tourist in your own city

Sure you've lived there your whole life, but have you seen all there is to see? Go to a museum you haven't been to, a local monument that is usually reserved for tourists or an outlet mall that is typically packed on weekends. You're on vacation, you can go in the middle of a Monday when it might not be so busy.

Check into a hotel

Maybe staying at home will be too tempting for you to catch up on work or do chores around the house. Instead of giving into the urge of being productive, go to a nice hotel nearby and get a massage. Enjoy the pool or have a few cocktails with your significant other in the lobby bar. The point is to get away from it all, so act like you're new to the city.

Activities for the kids

Kids are easy! Take them to the beach or a wave pool, go camping with them or visit the nearest amusement park. You can do all kinds of vacation-like things with your kids in your hometown when you don't have to worry about keeping a schedule.

Get away from it all

However you spend your time off from work, the goal is to enjoy yourself. There's no point in taking time off if you'll just return to the office more stressed out than when you left. So if going out of town isn't an option for you and your family, look to your current city and neighboring areas for fun things to do that will take your mind off the day-to-day grind.

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