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Economical Vacations-Stay at Home

Updated on October 26, 2012

There’s a great scene in the Jimmy Stewart Christmas film, It’s a Wonderful Life , in which Donna Reed surprises her new husband with a stay-at-home honeymoon. How? She very creatively plastered travel posters to ‘far away’ places on the walls while tropical music cranked out on their gramophone. Boy, was he surprised, but it was a necessary compromise when their wedding money helped bail out the town’s financial crisis.

George and Mary didn’t whine about the hand that they’d been dealt. When the going got tough, they got tougher. We can do the same-and one of the ways we can do this is to take a ‘stay at home’ vacation. No gas worries, no hotel accommodations to be concerned with, just a willingness to be creative in exploring the places we wish we were at.

Where to find the materials? Try your public library. This is a wonderful first place to find videos or DVD’s of the sightseeing highlights of cities, countries and theme parks. If you want to transform one of your rooms into your vacation place, solicit travel agents to ask for posters of the area you want to visit.

Using this method, I can travel around the country, and the world, visiting the people I have met here on Hubpages. What a wonderful group of interesting people. So, I will begin with my state of residency: North Carolina.

The South

North Carolina

There’s a large group of writers in our state writing about redneck topics, homemade gifts, birds, horses and health. There’s Micky Dee-forever writing and riding his bike, his wit and poetry racing along; Debby Bruck, whose knowledge of homeopathy I can hardly wait to tap into; Dallaswriter, whom I promised to sit and enjoy a cup of tea with; and Somewhere in the USA, perhaps still parked in the Outer Banks, is our lovely hubber, Stephanie Henkel. I might not be able to keep up with Micky, but I think I could get Steph to stop for a moment around the campfire and shoot the breeze.

South Carolina:

Moving down to South Carolina I look forward to visiting with DIYweddingplanner. (If you haven’t met her yet, read some of her hubs and comments in the forums. I know where to get my dose of laughter).

“Come on, girl-we are going to put on our red hats and go party! Oh heck, we’ll leave the red hats behind…”

Patti, (DIY) takes me to the renowned ‘Myrtle Beach’ to dance in the surf, soak up some sun and sip wonderfully cool beverages. Shhh, I won’t tell what they are…

“Whew, that Patti sure can party hearty,” I say to myself as I wave goodbye and head to Georgia where I will meet up with Ravenlt04.


Raven is a newbie and has been on Hubpages for a mere six weeks, but I like her style. She wears many hats, (I don’t know if one of them is red), and so do I. I can click with a gal like that.

My visit in Atlanta is stupendous. There is much to see and do, like visiting the Georgia Aquarium. Did you know the majority of this aquarium was built from money donated by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot? After his 60th birthday visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California he was determined to bring the same sea animal thrills to his state of Georgia.

Raven’s family and I spend an exhausting day touring the exhibits-and with over 500 species, there is a lot to see. Then it’s back to her house before hitting the road again in the early morning. Thank goodness for earplugs. With five sons, the noise level is a challenge!


Continuing to head south into Florida I meet up with Klarawieck, KoffeeKlatch Gals, Pamela99 and MannyRolando for more sunshine and conversation. What better thing then to take a peek at Manny’s beautiful photos while enjoying a fresh brewed cup of coffee together. Alas, our visit is short as I have to keep traveling. There are so many states to cover.

Georgia Aquarium-You Tube

The Southwest and Pacific Coast


The fun thing about an imaginary trip is the amount of time it takes to get from point A to point B.  I jump into Texas where I will visit my sandpit buddy, Stevennix2000 before heading over to see Ms. Nellieanna for a chat about life and all of her experiences.  Then, a visit with Peggy W at her Houston home is a must.  We swap stories about nursing, gardens, and places we’ve travelled.  Before heading further west I’ll stop in to see Rose Mary in San Antonio and find out how she organizes all of the hubs during the final days of the Hub mob weekly topics.  You may know Rose Mary as rmcrayne. 


Phoenix, Arizona, is my next hop to visit with a real life cowboy, Will Starr.

“Will,” I ask him, “Have you been a cowboy all of your life?  Was this just natural or did you grow into it?” 

Will gives me some of his sage comments about life, our country, and the way things should be run.  And, I listen with both ears open. 


Heading west to California, the furthest point of my ‘virtual’ trip, I look up tsmog and Mr. Smith checking out their latest projects.  Driving toward the desert, later that evening, I meet up with Sagebrush_mama.  She promises to take me on a tour of Death Valley-well, at least an edge of it, at the crack of dawn.  I still remember those mules hauling the covered wagon across the desert with the Borax soap commercial.   

In the wee hours of the morning, before light hits the land, we eat a healthy southwest breakfast and head for the desert sunrise.  What a show of color, wild life and flowering cactus against the backdrop of the mountains.  But, temperatures are unbearable and we do not stay long.

As I say goodbye to Sagebrush I move on up to the Bay area to hang out with Chatkath and DzyMsLizzy.  We have much to talk about, since they live in my old stomping grounds. We decide to ride the trolley in San Francisco, grab some lunch in China Town and end our visit driving across the Golden Gate Bridge.


After Kath, Lizzy and I part ways, I continue my trip up to Oregon to meet with Violet Sun.  Marie was one of my first followers and she is a beautiful soul that I have been waiting to meet.  Besides, now that her partner Phil is also a Hubber here, (Soul Dreams), it is nice to sit and chat together while taking in the gorgeous view of the Oregon countryside.  Before I leave, Marie shows me her deck of inspirational cards that she has created-beautiful pictures that touch the soul along with words of wisdom and encouragement.

Midwest and Tennessee


Bump! I find myself in Missouri, where I visit my dear friend Monica Robinson. I don’t see much of Monica any more, which makes our visit that much sweeter. While there I look up Sholland10 and she shows me the highlights of the city where she lives.


My next stop is southern Illinois where I pick up my sister, Danette Watt, who will finish the trip with me. She has been a freelance writer for longer than I have been on Hubpages, and has a real talent for getting her points across concisely, and with an interesting angle. She shows me her latest hub work about one of her favorite topics: the community garden, and then we get on our way heading east across the state to drop in on Ruby, (Always Exploring) . Ruby and I share the same profession of nursing and as the three of us exchange shop talk she shows us her latest poetry. Ruby writes some lovely poems and Danette and I are excited that we were the first to see the next gem she will post on Hubpages.


Before we know it our visit is over and we continue on our journey. Not wanting to miss visiting Vocalcoach, Danette and I swing down to Nashville, TN and find Audrey in-you guessed it, her music studio giving a voice lesson to a special client. Besides having a talent for writing, Audrey has a talent for touching the lives of those around her with her sweet kindness. Danette, Audrey and I sit for a spell to take in a cup of tea and enjoy the classical music playing in the background. It is a blessed, peaceful moment before my sister and I hit the road north.


At the blink of an eye we are through Ohio, (hello katiem2 and CJ Andrews), and into Michigan. In Michigan we hold a minihubcamp for Hubbers: cardelean, Fossil Lady, and Treasuresofheaven. In our meeting we discuss SEO, keywords, ad sense, contests and challenges. We pledge to continue to support each by reading hubs and leaving comments.

Danette and I hit the trail again, this time with Cara (cardelean) in tow. We didn't realize she was with us until we were almost at the Ohio Turnpike and stopped for gas. By this time Cara was banging her hand on the inside of the trunk asking for air. She was a true stowaway, but we were happy to have her company. Our destination was to travel to New Jersey and meet up with Hubber: the clean life, at his newly renovated beach house. Ahh, the smell of the salty air; the sounds of the ocean…

Relax at home and save vacation money


New Jersey

Mark, (the clean life), was unaware that we invited Hubbers from New York, Pennsylvania, New England, and as far as Maine, to join us at his beach house for a luau, or that he is hosting a pig pickin’ party. The guests we invited are mtsi1098, Bkcreative, Jlbowden, Shogan, Radioguy, AnnieRoseVA, Seafarer Mama, and of course, Fetty.

“We’ll share the information we discussed at our Michigan hubcamp,” I tell the others.

Danette opens charts and graphs. As we lick greasy BBQ sauce off of our fingers, we listen to everyone’s input and add their goals to the charts. At the end of the dinner we stroll down to the beach and walk along the water’s edge gathering driftwood for a beach bonfire. As the sun sets below the ocean’s horizon everyone shares some hub stories.

“One more stop on our trip towards home,” I tell Danette and Cara, brushing the beach sand off my clothes the following morning, “we’ll meet Gail, (Happyboomernurse), and Erin LeFrey for breakfast at the shore.”

Hugs and goodbyes are said to our gracious host Mark, and all of the other beach bum guests we shared the evening with, before everyone takes off in opposite directions.

Delaware and Home Sweet Home


Cara, Danette and I hit the road again and it doesn’t take long before we are sitting in a lovely Oceanside restaurant enjoying a lovely brunch with ‘the ladies’, Erin and Gail. Catching up with the latest Hubpages happenings, we tell them all about our trip throughout the Midwest, and I add in details of my earlier travels.

Three hours later, we are finally saying goodbye, ready to finish our road trip. We use our magic button to instantly transport us back to North Carolina, bypassing the long drive through Washington DC traffic.

Home sweet home. It was a very enjoyable vacation meeting many of the people I bump into on Hubpages-and I didn’t have to spend a dime!

My apologies to anyone I failed to mention during my continental U.S.A. tour. And, to my friends across the water-I haven’t forgotten you. That trip will have to wait for another day.


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks xiaoxiao

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great post, it is useful for me, thank you so much.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Charlotte-Thanks for your comments. I loved creating this hub, and yes, it was all a wonderful story in the end, LOL

    • Charlotte B Plum profile image

      Charlotte B Plum 

      9 years ago

      Totally love the way you fashioned this hub. So ingenious and refreshing, you made it like a story!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL so glad you found your way to my travel hub, Peggy. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You are welcome to visit Houston and our garden anytime and talk about travels. Nice meeting other hubbers in Texas and other states through your hub. This IS an economical vacations stay at home plan. Nicely done!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Nellieanna-I will be happy to mosey on down to your ranch. LOL Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      9 years ago from TEXAS

      What fun! I honestly felt like I'd been across the country with you on this foray, talking to mutual friends - and some new ones to me - and enjoying the local color of each area. Thank you for stopping here in Dallas. Next trip, perhaps I can take you to another area and visit my ranch in southwest Texas. In any case - the stay-at-home vacation is a lovely idea and I enjoyed reading all about it. Hugs!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      OMG- I can't believe it is really you, Monica. LOL Nice to see you again. Glad you had a chance to read this, since you are a part of it. Take care.

    • MonicaRobinson profile image


      9 years ago

      What a fun hub Denise!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey Micky-nice to see you here-did you catch the paragraph about NC? It mentions you there, LOL

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Nicely done Denise. We can be at peace and beauty without "burden". God bless!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Sima, Thanks for visitng the hub and commenting. That sounds like a cool idea-we'll travel around together, LOL

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Denise, I saw this Hub Featured!! You have some cute ideas. I will do this for fun this year - hopefully, we'll have a real vacation too!!!

      Funny and useful!!!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Jo-It's a wonderful lif is one of my favorite movies and certainly, it is my fave Christmas movie. In fact, I think I may have done a hub on it, but with 100 under my belt-I can't quite remember, LOL. Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you pick a destination soon and enjoy your time together. I love to travel-seriously, not just via the imagination. Thanks for the vote up.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image


      9 years ago

      I loved the movie it’s a wonderful life. My hubby and I have yet to seek a destination for our honeymoon. We have been married almost three years. We had to work the next day after we married. Our jobs at the time didn't leave us a choice. Nice article, useful information. Voted up!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Little Payday-thanks for sharing in the fun here. I like your idea of the hotel and actually have done this on occasion when my children were young. Each Feb they would have a 'winter' break and, since my husband and I could not afford a trip to FL every year (we did it only once, actually), we would take a w/e and go to a hotel. I will have to write about my adventures with him sometime.

      Stephanie, Yay! You made it, LOL Okay, now I can go to bed, LOL Glad you liked the hub. :) Hugs to you. And Happy Anniversary again.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      9 years ago from USA

      Denise, this was a TERRIFIC Hub! I loved taking a virtual tour of the country to meet so many of our very interesting Hubbers. You can stop by to sit around my campfire anytime!

    • LittlePayday profile image


      9 years ago from Online @

      I love this Hub! I have been wanting to go on vacation for so long but have not had the finances or the time to do so!

      Another, slightly more costly, but still inexpensive travel idea that I have been throwing around is to stay a weekend in a hotel in a nearby city. You won't have to spend money on travel - airfare, gas, train ticket, etc - but you still get out of the house.

      You can stay somewhere with a pool or other fun hotel accommodations.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Patti-at long last you are here. LOL Yes, we'll have a day at the beach followed by a night on the town and top it off with one of your splendid Adult Pajama Parties, LOL Thanks for reading.

      Rochelle-great idea-you take the next tour guide, okay? LOL

      Hi Kathi-I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had to change it up for Cara--she wanted to tag along at the end, LOL

    • Fossillady profile image


      9 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      That was a fun tour and a great idea. I enjoyed meeting new hubbers and I must say, I know quite of few of them. It was nice being a part of the tour!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      9 years ago from California Gold Country

      What a nice idea-- and a great way to give a boost to some other great hubbers. I think we should all plan out a fantasy map that crosses the paths of favorite hubbers. Oh, and also save the bank, or at least some banknotes..

    • DIYweddingplanner profile image


      9 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Denise, my first comment got swallowed up in computer lala land.

      I feel like a celebrity! You can come right on down to SC and party with me anytime! Love it!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Virtual traveling is the best-so cheap and you can go ANYWHERE! LOL

    • VioletSun profile image


      9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      What a charming, creative hub! It was enjoyable to read and fun to see my name. Thank you! Read the comments by vinsanity, and in my case, I don't think I am traveling this year, unless something fantastic happens financially with our business; its a first for me in 7 years, as I travel at least once or twice a year back to the East Coast. I am okay with it though, may do virtual traveling! :)

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Vinsanity-thanks for reading and your comment. Yes, if we don't spend we save! What an easy equation. LOL

      Also-Congratulations to YOU for having your cool hub as a featured story on the front page.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a great idea for a hub. This summer I want to save as much money as possible and by choosing stay at home vacations, I think I will be able to!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey StephHicks-thanks for reading and commenting.

      Hi b.-I'm glad you enjoyed it. It took awhile to keep everything straight, but it was fun.

      Hey Will-no worries. It is all in fun and I based my info not on anything you have said, but merely the photo, the current state (AZ) and all the rest is for the sake of the hub. It is fiction, after all.

      Hey Danette-Thanks! And thanks for keeping me company on the trip, LOL

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      What a clever and creative hub! I enjoyed reading it and "touring" around the country with you, meeting new hubbers. Voted up and all across.

    • WillStarr profile image


      9 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Denise,

      One correction...although I grew up on and around Iowa farms and later, Arizona ranches, and know the history of the old west, I do not call myself a 'real cowboy'. Ghost is the real cowboy. I just write about it.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      9 years ago

      What a wonderful trip you took us all on...It was loads of fun as well as informative and entertaining. Thanks for sharing some "Great Ideas". Happy, Mother's Day to You!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Marshall 

      9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Great hub on vacations - love how you broke down ideas state by state!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks daughter! I enjoyed chatting with you this morning on FB-nice Mother's Day greeting first thing in the morning. Thanks for your feedback and by all means, hop in the car! LOL

      Oh yes, the backyard camping vacation. Great idea.

    • cardelean profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Mom, that was a GREAT hub. I really enjoyed that trip with you and have declared myself a passenger on your trip from Michigan on. Thoroughly enjoyed that!

      I got so wrapped up in the trip that I almost forgot to say that another great staycation is to pitch a tent in the backyard.


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