You have earned a vacation day.
Whether or not you can afford a vacation is another story.
Although many people are still mired in the credit card debt from before the recession, it’s still possible to turn off the computer and take a break from work without breaking the budget.
- Think local. Do you ever wonder what’s around you? There are shopping centers, stores, and art centers in your local community that are dying for an opportunity to be seen. Take a day and pick 3-4 places you’ve always driven past but never bothered to explore. Grab lunch at a local dinner, or just have ice cream in your downtown district.
- Go green. So many people talk about wellness like it’s a chore. I am a big fan of local parks and wildlife areas. Pack a lunch, grab a water bottle, and walk in a local green space. Don’t like to walk? Leave your phone in the car, grab your Kindle, and read without being interrupted by the internet.
- Create a new perimeter. If you found your house on a map and drew a 50-mile circle, what would you discover? Could you do a day trip to a new and interesting location? What if you drew a 100-mile circle? Could you find a cheap hotel on Trip Advisor and explore a new city?
- Swimming is cheap and fun. My father used to buy “day passes” to swimming pools to keep us occupied. During the summer, he would take us to wave pools and water slides. We would always end up at the YMCA, too.
- Mild consumerism is okay. I know you probably have kids and teenagers. Have you tried a new mall in a different town? How about a different movie theater?
- A family fun center in a different town can kill a day. I always enjoy a good air-hockey-mini-golf excursion. We love a local place called Frankies. Go find your Frankie’s.
- Get on social media. Groupon and Living Social aren’t dead. There are a ton of great ideas for cheap things to do. And your local news website might offer deals on interesting activities, too.
I know it’s expensive out there, but you earn PTO for a reason. No matter what you choose to do with your day off, be a good consumer and check in on Foursquare or Yelp when you explore your own territory. Tell other people what’s good.
Now go schedule that vacation day.