Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh Won’t You Stay?

Tip Of The Day: Stay-cations, all you ever wanted! Okay, I just used up all the vacation/stay songs in my repertoire.
Anyhoo, stay-cations – otherwise known as staying home for your vacation. Stuff you can do in the TC and beyond this summer, instead of wasting gas to leave the state. You can either read about it here, or watch it on Fox 9 News at 5 PM. Actually, I recommend doing both, just to be on the safe side.

Tip For Tomorrow: It’s all about eBay. I’ll reveal the stuff I’m selling, and a few cheapo tips to make your eBay listing more better-er.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: Remember family vacations from your youth? You’d all shove together in the family (beater) car, with snacks and games and NO AIR CONDITIONING, then drive somewhere. You’d look at some other state’s stuff, stay in some hotel, get sunburned, fight with your older brother, and pray that it wasn’t too hot on the ride home.

Or maybe you’d go camping. This also involved packing into an UN-AIR CONDITIONED car and driving to hell and gone. Then pitching a tent in some random camp ground, fighting with your big brother, and praying it didn’t rain for the next four days.

Good times.

Now, do you note the one constant in both scenarios? Yes, driving. And in later, richer years, flying. Both of which require copious amounts of gas.

Which brings us to today, and our gas prices at $4 a gallon or MORE. Ugh, just typing that makes me want to break out into hives. But I digress. Expensive gas prices can really put a damper on a fun family vacation, not to mention your fun family wallet.

So how can you have the vacation experience, minus the high gas prices? And (hopefully) the fighting with siblings? Plan a Stay-Cation. In other words, explore the wonders of your home state, instead of looking for fun (and love) in all the (wrong) expensive places.

Stay-cation #1: Alternative to Napa Valley.
You don’t need to fly to Cali – or France, or Italy – to find great vineyards and wineries. Our fair state boasts more than 15 different wineries, many close to the TC.
I HIGHLY recommend Alexis Bailey
, Northern Vineyards, and WineHaven. They offer tastings and tours (usually for groups, not individuals) and yummy wines for sale in $10 - $20.
Plus? The more you buy the bigger discount you get on wine. An excuse to purchase in bulk! Mmmmm, bulk wine…

Stay-cation #2: Camp locally. REALLY locally.
I know Yellowstone is All That And A Bag Of Chips, what with the geyser and the nature and the grizzlies. But it is far away and many tanks of gas from MN. Why go the distance when you camp right in the TC? There are campgrounds in Lake Elmo, Coon Rapids, Apple Valley, etc. If you’re looking for a place to go, start at Explore Minnesota.com
Or, you can go totally cheap and fabulous and camp in your backyard. Oooo, or branch out and camp in a friend’s backyard! Swap yards with a group of buddies and enjoy the great outdoors, away from your house, on less than a tank of gas. I call dibs on the content of their fridges. And liquor cabinet.

Stay-cation #3: Enjoy the culture where you live.
One of my co-workers just got back from London, and the whole office is agog with his tales of the museums and castles and old stuff to look at.
However, we’ve got plenty of old and interesting things to gaze at in the TC – like the Minnesota Institute of Arts, Walker Art Museum, and Historic Fort Snelling. They’ve got old stuff, art stuff, and best of all FREE stuff. Use the Museum Adventure Pass
and you can get your grubby mitts on 2 or 4 free passes.
And I know Europe et all is replete with events and festivals. But so is Minnesota. We’ve got some community celebrating some event every weekend from now until October. Check out Explore MN.com again (after you read my post) for events and festivals going on as we speak.

If that’s not enough fun for the family for you, well, you are just too darned demanding. But FINE, here are two more quick tips:

1. Stay home this year and save for next year. If you cut back one year on your summer festivities, you can save money for next year’s blow out. Put that money in a separate savings account and LEAVE IT ALONE. Add to it throughout the year with money you make from garage sales, selling stuff on eBay, or extra jobs. Then next year, go to town. Or, Yellowstone. Just watch out for the bears.

2. If you don’t live in MN, Google-search the tourist information web site for your state, like Discover Wisconsin
. Spend some time online and you are BOUND to find something new and cool to do in your home state.

Those are my ideas, now for yours. What great stay-cation plans do you have this summer?


Mary said...

Um what if where you live has no culture? Seriously though, the idea of staycations is awesome. I think once I'm allowed to squat, kneel, or crawl, I'm making my husband take me camping.

LaRue said...

Also, check shearson.com. Shearson Publishing does the Travel & Events calendars, and they have a calendar for MN and one for the TC, complete with a vewry extensive directory of events, locations, etc. Good stuff.

And I can't believe you ever had a fight with your nice brother. How could you treat him that way? (Hi C!)

Anonymous said...

Dude, I married the guy and I fight with him when camping. Well, maybe not fight, but bicker.

mia said...

I'm moving a couple thousand miles. :)

The Cheap Chick said...

Miss Mia, are you moving to MN?

Anonymous said...

Definitely, staycation in Minneapolis is the way to go. We have everything. Art, culture, the MALL of Frickng AMERICA. History. Science. Most excellent lakes.

Written by standing still, somewhere in the mountains of Colorado. But, still. Love the idea.