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The Non-Vacation Vacation

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
Category Advice

If the economy has brought your vacation plans to a screeching halt, there are some fun alternatives in your future. The alternative vacation plans might be even more enjoyable than a real trip, especially knowing that they're not costing you a fortune.

Leave Without Leaving Your Home

If you have a dream of Hawaiian beaches and luau foods, host an at-home luau instead. This can't compare to a trip to the islands, but that's not a reality for most people. Instead of hosting a regular luau-themed party, go all out. Borrow as many tropical house plants as possible, and fill a screened in patio or room with them. Sit the children down a few days earlier to create paper flower leis and strung decorations.

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Then, create a menu to make the island's mouth water. Stock up on fruit, and save all of the rinds for the serving dishes. Watermelon rinds create larger serving bowls, cored pineapples hold berries, as well as cantaloupes and other melons. Fix pineapple pizzas for the kids, and roast pork for the adults. Check out a cookbook from the library for some Polynesian recipes.

Add some music and activities that bring the islands to your home, and keep everyone involved with the activities. Afterwards, turn the living room into a sleeping bag sea to serve as your makeshift "hotel."

The idea doesn't have to revolve around Hawaii. Cater the event to the vacation that fills your dreams.

Make Your Home a Vacation

Why go away at all? Make a weekend plan to stay at home with your family and do exciting things together. After all, that's what makes a vacation so special.

Book a campsite in your backyard, and pitch a tent or two. Set up a fire pit campfire, break out the marshmallows, and have some backyard fun. Abandon the house with the exception of using the "bath house." Campgrounds charge $30 a night for a space; your yard is free.

If Hollywood interesta you but you can't afford the trip to California or New York to see the shows or stars, bring the stars to you. Set up an in-home theater with a large supply of popcorn and snacks and a stack of movies. Hang indoor Christmas lights around the living and dining room, and use these for lights rather than your typical lamps. Play show tunes or soundtracks as you play celeb games such as Scene It. Create your own games by adding a new rule to Scrabble that says every word has to revolve around the entertainment industry. Set out the starlets' biographies for afternoon reads by the kiddie pool on the patio, and eat in candlelight. It isn't a trip to the West coast, but it will be fun.

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Take a Vacation to Your Home Town

Why travel and rack up unnecessary costs to see sights when a plethora of great places lay in your home town? Take a vacation to your own town and take some time to appreciate what it has to offer. Do a little research to see the great places that you've never visited. Many local historical societies don't charge admission to their museums, and most landmarks are free of charge as well. Take in a movie at same theater your grandparents used to visit. Eat at the restaurant where Dad proposed to Mom. Then, visit town hall and other places of interest in town. You'd be surprised how many people take a vacation to visit someplace just like where you're living every day.

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