Family Summer Vacation Budget Family Activities

Family summer vacations are often the epicenter of happy memories. However, it seems like the family summer vacations of your youth were much simpler (and cheaper!) than they are today. So what’s a family on a tight budget to do? Don’t fret! Affordable vacations with family activities are plentiful–you just need to think outside the box.

Get Away Without Going Too Far

A “staycation” is a great way to get the benefit of a family summer vacation without having to travel too far. Most major cities have family-friendly resorts with plenty of activities for kids, such as pools, playgrounds and parks, kid-friendly dining and organized activities, while they also offer plenty of adult activities as well, such as spa treatments and golf.

Not sure what’s available near you? Check out the numerous resort-finding websites online, such as Vacation Outlet, Kayak and Spa Finder. Sign up for regular e-mails with deals and special offers.

Other staycation ideas include staying in an affordable hotel right next to a local attraction your family wants to visit, like a museum or zoo, so it feels more like getting away than driving there and returning back home. Camping is also a great way to get away without going too far and has endless family activities to go along with it.

The most affordable staycation is doing just that: staying! But although you aren’t leaving your home, you are vowing to take a vacation from the daily grind and participate in vacation-type activities. This might take a little more creativity but can also be lots of fun in the planning and doing. Allow your kids to set up a tent in the backyard, and pledge a day or two without electronics–no e-mail, TV or computer use. Spend the time outdoors at a local park or beach.

Getting the Most Out of Your Travel Buck

Dedicated to going to a destination but still need to stay on budget? By following a few simple guidelines you can save money and get the most out of your family summer vacation on a budget:

  • Consider all-inclusive stays: Resorts, camps, farms and ranches have lodging, meals and activities all in one place, and you can often pay one set price for a few days or a week of lodging, meals and activities. These are costly up-front, but deals are available and an all-inclusive vacation takes the stress out of constantly balancing your checkbook and assessing your budget while on vacation.
  • Ask for deals: Many restaurants and hotels have deals where children can stay or eat for free or at a discount.
  • Consider driving: Though gas prices are rising, taking your family in a van still might be cheaper than the cost of flying per passenger.
  • Think about transportation alternatives: When you get to your destination, consider using mass transit, renting bikes or walking to save on transport fees.