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Staycation? Cincinnati & Lexington Among Top 20 Spots

If money is tight this summer or you just don’t want to worry about booking travel or a room, why don’t you just stay put?
 
Lexington and Cincinnati were ranked in the top 20 best cities for a “staycation” by WalletHub.com, a website launched two years ago by Evolution Finance Inc. It is designed, according to editors, to help consumers “make better financial decisions and save money.”
 
With the economy showing begrudging signs of improvement following an especially tumultuous winter, travel is trending upward as consumers can’t seem to wait for an escape. More than 36 million people ventured at least 50 miles from home over Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA, and 75 percent of Americans are planning a summer vacation this year, according to American Express.
 
But, the 2014 summer travel season is also expected to be rather expensive. Vacationers plan to spend an average of $1,246 per person this summer – a 9 percent increase from 2013 – due in part to a rise in hotel and airfare costs in popular destinations.
 
Cincinnati was number one in number of golf courses per capita, second in most swimming pools per capita and fifth in most tennis courts per capita. On top of that, one of the key findings was that Cincinnati has 173 times more parks per capita than Toledo.
 
And while the weather rankings for both Cincinnati and Lexington brought their average rank out of the 100 cities down (Cincinnati 33 and Lexington 29), both stood out in recreation activities (Cincinnati 2 and Lexington 17).
 
If you don’t feel like you can afford such a hefty tab, you aren’t alone. The average household still has roughly $7,000 in credit card debt hanging over their head, they have yet to solve their student loan problems and full employment is still two years away.
 
Where does that leave them? Exploring expert tips for saving on summer travel is a great way to help stretch a budget, but if you’ve got bigger savings goals in mind a staycation might be in order.
 
Certain cities are obviously more conducive to a staycation than others, though. From recreation opportunities to the cost of relaxation, there are a number of factors to consider when evaluating whether or not you can bring the benefits of a vacation to your front door.
 
“Staycations are an excellent money saving idea,” John Grigsby of the Pennsylvania College of Technology, said. “I often recommend them to individuals and families who are having a financial crisis due to a job loss or other personal casualty. They are often for short periods of time (daytrips, long weekends, etc.) and are much more economical than formal vacations.”

With that in mind, WalletHub considered 20 of the most important factors – from the number of public golf courses and swimming pools per capita to the cost of maid services – in ranking the 100 largest U.S. cities based on their staycation suitability.

2014’s Best Cities for Staycations:
 
1. Buffalo, New York
2. Minneapolis, Minnesota
3. Cincinnati, Ohio
4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
5. Portland, Oregon
6. Omaha, Nebraska
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
8. Tampa, Florida
9. Orlando, Florida
10. Seattle, Washington
11. St. Petersburg, Florida
12. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
13. St. Louis, Missouri
14. Cleveland, Ohio
15. Atlanta, Georgia
16. Boise City, Idaho
17. St. Paul, Minnesota
18. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
19. Honolulu, Hawaii
20. Raleigh, North Carolina

“Formal vacations often require advance notice and bookings with huge deposits,” Grigsby said. “I once booked a place for a week at a fancy resort and ended up spending most of the time in my room due to terrible weather conditions. Since staycations are usually for a short duration, you can likely do four or five staycations for the price of one regular vacation.”
 
While Cincinnati and Lexington made the top 20, Louisville still made the list, ranked 48th. It was noted to have one of the lowest numbers of spas per capita.
 
Other locations close to the Bluegrass were Nashville (40) and Memphis (52) in Tennessee, Indianapolis (41) and Fort Wayne (43) in Indiana and Toledo (44) and Columbus (66) in Ohio.
 
To see where other cities rank, visit the website here.
 
From Wallethub via KY Forward