The best vacations lift us out of the frenzy of our lives, whisking us off to faraway places that relax and rejuvenate us.
Yet a great vacation can also be a great financial strain as well -- and really, how relaxing is that? Especially since once the trip is over, there's typically little to show for all the expense beyond a few snapshots you can post on Facebook.
So how do you meet the pressing need for a stress-reducing change of scenery without wiping out your savings in the process? The solution may actually be simpler, and closer, than you think: Open your own back door, and begin imagining the leisure possibilities right beyond your doorstep!
Instead of throwing a bunch of money at a short-term getaway, consider investing a portion of it into transforming your back yard into a personal relaxation oasis.
Don't be put off by how big a task that sounds. Start out simple, making additional changes as finances allow, and inspiration strikes.
To begin with, your yard may need some degree of facelift. Hire a quality professional landscaper who can design around native plant species, for maximum benefit and minimal upkeep.
Yet landscaping is really only setting the stage -- you still need some kind of show-stopper to complete your yard's transformation.
Pools and decks are whopping financial commitments. There is, however, a less bank-breaking path to backyard-relaxation bliss: Invest in the very symbol of relaxation itself. Invest in a hammock and hammock stand.
"Repeat customers are always telling me the best mini-vacation they've ever bought has been a hammock and a hammock stand," says J.R. Pelletier, manager of TheHammockCompany.com, an international leader in hammock sales. "A good hammock can feel as if you've just caught a flight straight out of your stressful daily life."
Plus, a quality fabric hammock can make your yard look as pretty as a vacation postcard as well. Recent advances in all-weather synthetic textiles have vastly expanded design and color options for fabric hammocks.
"It used to be fabric hammocks were just drab," notes Walter R. Perkins III, CEO of The HammockSource, the world's largest manufacturer and seller of hammocks. "Owning one meant watching what little color it had fade like a flower by summer's end. But today, a quality fabric hammock can be a show-stopper for your yard, for many seasons to come."
Add an arc-style cypress or faux-wicker hammock stand, and your outdoor living space becomes not only a gorgeous relaxation destination, but also one that requires no checked-baggage fees or full-body scans to get to!
Your favorite patch of yard is finally the prime spot for unwinding, a personal relaxation space for letting your mind wander to all those distant getaway places you might one day like to go. But for now, you're pretty content right where you are, aren't you?