Undaunted by the high price of gas, we hopped in our 4-cylinder Camry this weekend for a road trip. The next best thing to a staycation is the sofabed vacation. All you need are friends who live no more than a few hours' drive from you, preferably in a historic or touristy town, some conversational skills, and a host/hostess gift.
Pack some lunch, because highway food can be both a pricey and dicey proposition. Brush up on current events or the latest celebrity gossip, because you will most likely be expected to earn your keep by being a witty conversationalist at a cocktail party or other impromptu gathering at some time during your stay.
Back to that hostess gift. A decent bottle of wine or some cheery flowers are always well received, but you may wish to stray from the well-trodden path and select a funny coffee table book or some witty wine charms or coasters. For those of you rural types, some of your home grown veggies or fresh eggs are usually welcomed by your urban chums.
Here are a few ground rules for the sofabed vacation. Don't get embarassingly drunk during your stay. Leave the house at least as neat as you found it. Be sure to reciprocate the next time your friends want to get away from it all. You get extra brownie points for preparing breakfast or dinner at least once during your stay. Oh, and don't forget that thank-you note when you get back home (or at least an e-card, free at evite.com, hallmark.com, yahoogreetings.com).
The benefits of the sofabed vacation are many. You will save at least $100 a night on hotel fees, probably eat one or more meals at home, saving even more money, and your relationships will thrive on the new memories created during your stay. Enjoy your vacation!