Why overspend this year on a vacation that could cost you big in rising gas, airfare, and food prices?
Cut your costs and the hassle by staying close to home and playing tourist. Take a staycation, and you can plan an affordable summer getaway right there in your hometown or nearby. Break out of your household routine, check into a reasonably priced local hotel or resort, and make a point of seeking out all the sights and attractions you’d typically explore if you were an out-of-towner just visiting for the week.
Recommended by Fodor’s, here are staycation ideas and hotel packages for five major U.S. cities.
1) New York City
Where to stay: Jumeirah Essex House
What to do: Take advantage of the hotel’s Weekend Escape on the Park package, and stay at this recently renovated Art-Deco–style hotel located across from Central Park. Go window-shopping on Fifth Avenue, take in a Broadway show, and check out a concert during SummerStage ’08, a free performing arts festival held in the park each summer.
What you’ll spend: Room rates are $309 and up.
2) Scottsdale, Ariz.
Where to stay: Camelback Inn
What to do: Get a vacation package the whole family can enjoy. The resort’s Escape! Family Slumber Party, which runs through December, includes a casita room or a two-bedroom suite, pizza delivered to your room daily, one in-room movie a day, and unlimited soda and juice for the kids. Lounge in your room or by the pool while the kids take a cooking class, then spend some time together at family events like one of the city’s free ArtWalks held throughout the year.
What you’ll spend: Room rates start at $149.
Where to stay: The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
hat to do: Start off your mornings with a cup of the city’s famous java, then try some of the local wines at night, paired with a four-course meal as part of the hotel’s Savor Seattle Package. This food-and-wine package includes a copy of the Savor Seattle cookbook, autographed by the hotel’s executive chef, Gavin Stephenson, and featuring his recipes, alongside those of other well-known chefs in the Northwest. You can also explore the Seattle Aquarium, or walk to Pike Place Market for some fresh seafood.
What you’ll spend: Package rates start at $499.
Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas
What to do: Forget about exploring, and just relax. Book the Signature Spa package, available through December 27, and get pampered. Perfect for couples who need an escape from work or their college kids who are home for the summer, the package includes a 50-minute Signature Massage for two guests (tip included), deluxe accommodations and valet parking for one night, and breakfast for two in your room or the hotel restaurant.
What you’ll spend: Package rates start at $539.
5) San Francisco
Where to stay: The Orchard Hotel
What to do: Go green, and book the Eco-Getaway at this boutique hotel just 100 feet from the Powell Street Cable Car line and two blocks from Union Square. Hit the ground running with your Greenopia Guide, the urban dweller’s guide to green living in San Francisco, and get a hotel discount on tickets for Mr. Toad’s “Postcard San Francisco” three-hour tour. You’ll see San Francisco in a pre-1930s vintage car that runs on propane, and get to stop for photo ops at picture-postcard places like Alamo Square, Golden Gate Park, and Ocean Beach.
What you’ll spend: Book Mr. Toad’s tour for $38 ($48 without the hotel discount). Room rates vary and are subject to a 14-percent occupancy tax.