One surefire way to cut down on travel costs during your summer vacation is to, well, just stay home. Staycations are a trendy alternative to that cross-country road trip or Caribbean cruise, especially if you live somewhere other people are itching to visit. Unless that place is Austin, which has taken a tumble on WalletHub's list of best and worst cities for staycations.
Yes, the financial website recently crowned Austin one of the 20 best summer travel destinations, but that study took airfare costs, hotel rates, and assorted other travel hassles into its equation, while the new one zeros in on what there is to do, eat, and see once you're in the city.
Last year, we ranked No. 17. This year, we plummeted to No. 70 out of 150, with pretty poor showings in two of the overall categories, recreation and rest and relaxation. Food and entertainment, however, had slightly perkier numbers.
Recreation includes things like the number of public golf courses, parks, hiking trails, water parks, shopping centers, and swimming pools. Food and entertainment counts the number of nightlife options, zoos, museums, cultural attractions, affordable restaurants, coffee and tea shops, and beer gardens per capita in addition to the average costs for a movie or game of bowling.
Rest and relaxation measures not only the number of spas and beaches but also WalletHub's summer weather score and the costs of beauty salons and housecleaning services. Because on a staycation, you're not supposed to sweep the floor yourself.
The best staycation city in Texas is Amarillo, apparently, at No. 35. Grand Prairie follows at No. 45, the only other Texas city to crack the top 50.
Fort Worth is the lowest, at No. 145, and Arlington — home to DFW's Six Flags, Hurricane Harbor, and AT&T Stadium — is No. 130. Dallas is No. 124, San Antonio is No. 136, and Houston is No. 137.
WalletHub ranks Anaheim, California, home of Disneyland, No. 134 and New York City, home of practically everything entertaining, No. 148. The best place to stay put and have a good time? Orlando, Florida.