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Budget Vacation
Ideas and Tips

Low Cost Family Vacation Ideas

All families need quality time. A budget vacation is a great way to be sure that families on a tight budget get to spend some quality time together. Vacationing can be a challenge for families on a tight budget.

Try these great, fun and interesting, vacation ideas to save money. The goal here is to get the most fun for your money. So, put on your thinking cap and let your creative side go wild. It's time to have a backyard budget vacation!

Camping

- a great low cost budget vacation option for families that enjoy the outdoors. Don't worry, you don't have to sleep in a tent. There are lots of state parks that rent cabins for a very reasonable fee.

I can highly recommend the Finger Lakes area of New York if it's a convenient distance for you. About a five hour drive for us, it turned out to be one of our most memorable vacations. (See some pictures and read more about it Here) The activity I think the kids enjoyed the most was the natural swimming area, with diving boards, at the bottom of a large beautiful waterfall.

As an added bonus, when you are registered at a state park, you gain free entrance into all state parks. This area is loaded with beautiful parks full of gorge trails, lake views, and camping facilities.

You are likely to find an area of such natural beauty convenient to you as well. Just do a little research, you never know what you'll find!

Beach It

- If you want to beach it, be sure to check out all your options for lodging. Lodging can account for a big portion of the vacation expenses. Look for low cost budget vacation lodging to save the most money on your vacation. Sometimes a large family can do better by renting a condo or home for the week rather than staying at a hotel.

Remember, you can save a tremendous amount of money if you can prepare your own meals while on vacation. A good portion of a families vacation budget can be literally "eaten up"!

Even a little kitchenette in a suite can save you big bucks. Continue to use the same food budget saving skills you use at home to maximize savings on your budget vacation!

Budget Vacation Tip:

If you're campers, you can almost always find a campground near popular beach areas and get maximum savings on lodging.

Don't forget your best resources, friends and family. Ask around to see if anyone has visited an area you plan to go. You may get lucky and have a "friend that has a friend" who maybe has a vacation spot they wouldn't mind renting to you for a lesser fee.

Sometimes people won't rent out their vacation spots for various reasons, but don't mind doing so if the tenant is a trusted acquaintance of a friend or family member.

Local Attractions

- When travel and lodging are cost prohibitive, you can still have a budget vacation right at home. Yes, in your own backyard. Many of us live within reasonable distance to museums, campgrounds, historic sites, and beautiful state parks. You might be surprised at what you find in your own local area.

Do some research in your area to find free or low cost activities and sites to visit. Schedule something for each day of the week, even if it's just a park visit for a picnic. Some areas have local public beaches. Plan an outing at a local public beach. Visit historical sites. Many of these are free, educational, and fun for parents and kids.

In Your Own Backyard!

- For the ultimate frugal budget vacation, you can even plan activities at home just as if you were at an exotic vacation spot. Have a different theme for each day. For example:

  • A beach day - Sun tanning, volley ball, make some fancy icy drinks to sip on in the sun, have a picnic!

  • A camp day - Stay in a tent or sleeping bags under the stars, build a little fire if allowed in your area, roast marshmallows, make smores, sing campfire songs.

  • Have a backyard fair - Create booths with games like ring toss or balloon popping to win little prizes. Find some great carnival game ideas at FunAttic.com

  • A colonial day - Dress, and live in another era!. This is great fun. I thought of this one purely by accident when the electricity went out one day. The kids expressed how "neat' it was to live like they did in the "old days."

    No lighting except candles and lanterns, no T.V. or radio, no video games or computer. Sounds boring, but believe it or not, they had fun coming up with ideas to keep occupied. A good teaching tool too! Shhhhhhhh….. don't tell the kids.

  • Culture Day - Experience lifestyles of another culture. Have a Native American, Irish, or Mexican day for example. Dress up and eat foods to represent different cultures. Do a little research if you need to and even put on a culture specific celebration. Add some ethnic games to make it even more fun and interesting

These "theme days" at home will take some imagination and a little work, but will be loads of fun for everyone. Half the fun will be in the creation, so let everyone pitch in. You may even have more fun in your own backyard than actually being in another part of the world!

Budget Tip:- A Theme Day can make a great birthday party idea also.

Whatever budget vacation you choose, if you're traveling a great distance be sure to check all your travel options. With today's soaring gas prices it's not unlikely that you may be able to get there faster, and cheaper, in the air. Hey, maybe there's a conspiracy here?

Advice for Planning more Elaborate Vacations

If these "creative" frugal vacations just don't fall into your category of "fun", and you just have to have that exotic resort vacation, then at least be sensible about it.

There are many great deals on vacation packages and off season rentals. And oodles of travel agencies just waiting to tell you about them.

This is one area where do-it-yourself isn't the most practical advice. Travel agencies are privy to a lot of travel information, especially seasonal discounts, that you and I don't have knowledge of. Do Your Research at least for goodness sake. You won't be kicking yourself later when you come across that great deal you missed out on!

Check out your local travel agencies, as well as some of the many online agencies. Don't forget, if you're an AAA member you’re eligible for travel discounts. Before finalizing any plans, be sure to know your rights. What happens if you have to cancel? What is the deadline to cancel? Will you loose your deposit or is it refundable? Know your options.

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