With a little less than half of the year left, I scheduled my vacation days earlier this week.

Sometime in late September, I’ll be going on a cruise in the Bahamas and staying a couple nights at some of the islands. And if time permits, I’ll try my luck at some deep sea fishing and maybe do a little water skiing.

Not really, but it’s a nice thought.

In truth, most if not all of my nine days off will be spent in Ohio. And I suppose at least half will be spent in Wayne County, where I live. The reality is our economy is a mess, gasoline is nearly $4 a gallon, utilities are on the rise, food prices are going up and I have a home mortgage that’s due each month.

The so-called “staycation” has become somewhat of a norm for me and a lot of other folks who are fortunate to have a vacation in the first place.

Even a short drive to a neighboring state, combined with a night or two in a hotel and eating out can lead to a bill of several hundred dollars. If you do any events or activities on the trip, you easily could top a thousand dollars or more.

For me, money saved is money that can be used for a new hot water heater, not “if” it goes bad, but “when.” Or, a car repair service or work to my furnace or home air conditioner.

Maybe that’s a cynical way of looking at it, but dollar-for-dollar, it’s also smart.

Getting away

I am not against vacations to other places. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to vacation in places like Clear Water Beach, Fla., Denver, Co., and the surrounding states. I love to get away and see other people and places.

Vacationing does the body and mind good, but it’s not cheap. If you have a good paying job (work in something other than journalism and probably something other than farming), the notion of a couple full vacations a year may not be that big a deal.

But if you’re like me and are trying to save for the unexpected and inevitable, the “staycation” is your choice. However, there are ways to enjoy the staycation, perhaps as much as any other trip.

Still fun

I enjoy historical places and the past few years I’ve found a lot more historical destinations here in Ohio than I knew existed. Whether it’s the county historical society or a regional monument, Ohio is blessed with a strong history and people who are dedicated to preserving it.

Some of my favorite historical places in Ohio are local museums, the Indian mounds of central and sourthern Ohio, and old, preserved villages such as Roscoe Village in Coshocton County.

I also like to fish. Ocean fishing in Ohio is out of the question, but we have Lake Erie, and an abundance of inland lakes that are much closer.

Still, a good number of my “staycation” days will get spent even closer to home. At least two days will be spent hunting deer on one of my grandparents’ farms, and I’m sure I’ll spend some time cleaning and painting different parts of my house.

I don’t want “house work” to dominate my vacation, but a few days off make for a great opportunity to take on some larger improvement projects that might not have otherwise fit into a normal work week.

What is your plan for vacationing? Do you get, or take a vacation? Where do you go, or do you “stay” put, like I usually do?

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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