With budget and economy being on the forefront of people’s minds, taking affordable family vacations has become a trickier task. Vacations are an important chance for a family to bond, to show youngsters new and exciting things. While taking affordable family vacations may be more difficult than in the past, it is still possible to find trips that can fit even tightened budgets.
Consider checking with friends and family members to see if anyone you know has a vacation home or timeshare that they are willing to rent to you. As a gesture of friendship, they will often offer much lower rates than a hotel or commercial accommodations, and may even refuse payment at all. Be sure to thank any such kind person with a lunch or a thank you gift; besides being polite, it may get you an invitation for a return visit.
To cut down costs, travel in a group or with other families. Renting a house at your destination can save valuable money if the cost is split across several incomes. Usually, vacation homes have several sleeping options such as futons and extra couches, so you can fit a surprising amount of people in a small home. It can also be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends and form lifelong friendships among your children.
If you intend to fly on your vacation, book well in advance and try to travel off season. While this may entail taking your kids out of school for a few days, it can save hundreds of dollars and likely you will find that the children don’t object. Booking a flight several months in advance can get you more affordable prices, and will also allow you to give teachers advance notice of your kids’ absence. Consider looking for package deals that include airfare, hotel and rental cars. Hotels often have partnerships with certain airlines or rental companies, and using associated partners can save you a bundle.
If money is truly a serious concern, two standby options can serve as great affordable family vacations. If you own a tent and can find some good sticks for marshmallow toasting, camping is almost always the most inexpensive way to travel. Camping can be wonderful for teaching children about nature and the wonders of the natural world, particularly for those who spend most of their lives in cities and suburbs.
For the ultimate in affordable family vacations, ask yourself how well you know your own town? Declare a family holiday for a few days, turn off the TV, and check out local attractions and activities. Go ice-skating or mini-golfing, spend the day playing games at a local park, or take the kids out to their first fancy, dress-up restaurant. Or hop a few towns over for their attractions, but stay close enough to return to your own beds at night. Local traveling can be just as fun as far-away vacations, without the worry about who cleaned the hotel room last.
No matter what the budget, family trips are about bonding and relaxation, rather than money and luxury. Affordable family vacations are possible for most people, even on a shoestring budget. The memories of vacations last a lifetime, and can help form the bonds that keep a family together for generations. In the end, no one will remember the money spent, only the time enjoyed and the silly and fun mishaps and adventures along the way.