Instead of booking that expensive vacation this summer, you may consider planning a staycation right here in Orlando. You can have the best of both worlds — rest and relaxation, without breaking the bank.
The City of Orlando earned the title of the No. 1 staycation city in the nation by WalletHub. The online financial resource recently released its “2016’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycations” report, and Orlando topped the list.
A staycation is a vacation that is spent attending local attractions, restaurants and hot spots in your hometown area that usually go ignored.
WalletHub’s staycation list is comprised of 150 of the largest cities in the United States ranging from Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, San Diego and more. WalletHub found the most wallet-friendly staycation spots in the U.S. by analyzing the number of staycation activities per capita in all the cities. These activities include swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, zoos & aquariums, ice cream, coffee & tea shops, museums, spas and beer gardens.
“Our report’s methodology was developed in conjunction with academic professors and industry experts,” according to Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst. “The data used to create these rankings were obtained from trusted sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Council for Community and Economic Research and Trust for Public Land, among others.”
It should come as no surprise that Orlando, which brought in 66 million tourists in 2015 according to Visit Orlando, is also a powerhouse filled with local treats to enjoy. While theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are a major contributor to Orlando’s tourism market, there are hundreds of spots that make Orlando the best staycation city in the United States.
Orlando ranked No. 1 in a number of public golf courses, zoos, spas & wellness centers, nightlife options, shopping centers, cultural attractions and beer gardens per capita, and placed well above above average in the other categories.
The City of Orlando already ranks highest in the nation in number of tourists, according UCF’s Chair of Hospitality Services Dr. Kevin Murphy, and he was not shocked after hearing Orlando reigned supreme amongst WalletHub’s staycation cities. Murphy offered insight onto why staycations are a great vacation alternative.
“A family of four to five can easily spend close to $10,000 on a 10-day family vacation, but with a staycation, you are able to shift all the money usually spent on travel and accommodations over to more activities,” he says. “These include dining at one of the 4,000 restaurants in the Greater Orlando area, shopping and more.”
He did admit there can be some drawbacks to taking a staycation since you aren’t receiving a change of scenery or getting away from your daily routine.
“While taking a staycation, you may have a tendency to get back into the routine of doing chores around the house or wanting to check your work email,” Murphy says.
If you do choose to take a staycation, here are some tips to ensure you get the full experience you so rightfully deserve:
-Train your mind to know that while you may be home, that does not mean you have to fall into your normal routine of work and chores.
-You must treat yourself. Remind yourself that you are doing this instead of paying for a costly vacation, so it is OK to splurge on meals, attractions and spa treatments.
-Put the phone, emails and other distractions away. Enjoy the time you are able to spend with your friends or family.