(ARA) - Has today's economy forced you to reconsider your family's annual summer vacation? If the answer is yes, you're not alone. In fact, a recent USA Today/Gallup Poll reported that 52 percent of respondents who had travel plans now intend to cut back on them in some way.
The good news is that you don't have to miss out on the fun just because you aren't leaving on a jet plane. There are plenty of ways to enjoy your time off and stay close to home. Remember -- sometimes the most fun can be found right around the corner, or in your own backyard.
Discover Card offers five tips on how to make your "staycation" a breeze:
1. Ready your home.
First things first: make sure you've got the right stuff. Hit your local retailers and take advantage of seasonal sales on patio furniture, umbrellas, outdoor games, kiddie pools, backyard tents and other summer-fun items. A few simple purchases can transform your backyard into a haven you won't want to leave.
2. Party with the Joneses.
Pick a weekend and organize a block party for you and your neighbors. Get permission to close your street for the day. Barbecue, play games and listen to music to your heart's content. Gather forces and buy party supplies in bulk at warehouse clubs to cut down on costs.
3. Earn rewards at local hot spots.
Take advantage of local destinations, such as museums, movie theaters and restaurants, and rewards programs that repay you for patronizing local attractions. For instance, Discover Card is giving card members a full 5 percent cash back on all purchases made at theme parks, zoos and other entertainment merchants this summer. They will even give you 5 percent cash back on the gas you need to get there, which means you could actually earn money during your summer close to home.
4. Go green
Explore your local park and spend some time with Mother Nature. Or consider visiting a national park. Did you know that the government is waiving the entrance fees at 147 parks during three weekends this summer? Most Americans live less than a day's drive from a national park making this special deal a great option for many families. Find a park near you at www.nps.gov.
5. Log-off, disconnect and unwind
Finally, even though you may be just a short commute from the office, remember to treat your time off like a real vacation. Don't check e-mails, put that cell phone or PDA in a drawer, and whatever you do, don't call the office every day. Remember, this is your time to relax, have fun and create new memories with your friends and family. Courtesy of ARAcontent