Family vacations are important. After all, everyone needs time to relax and unwind. In addition, the quality time family members spend together on these trips is important for healthy relationships. Unfortunately, family vacations can be expensive. Some Americans consider themselves on a tight budget when they only have $2,000 to spend, but what if you literally only have $200 in your savings account? Is a family vacation out of the question? No it isn’t, but you need to think outside of the box and closer to home.
If you want to plan a “family vacation,” but have no money, here is what you should do: Take a week or a few days off from work, as you would if you were traveling to a far away destination. In reality, you aren’t going anywhere. Each day, pick something new and exciting to do with your family within driving distance. Each day, do your predetermined family friendly activities and then return home. Sleep in your own beds and easily save up to $100 a night on a hotel room.
For many, part of a family vacation is trying something new. If you want, try camping in your backyard instead of having each family members sleep in their own beds. Tents can be expensive, but you can purchase cheaper, lesser quality tents for as low as $20. Also, don’t forget used tents or ask friends and family members to borrow theirs for a few nights. You still stay at home, but get a new and exciting experience.
As for the activities, start with things that are free. Local parks rarely have admission fees and they are usually home many facilities, such as a swimming pools, playgrounds, picnic tables, basketball hoops, and more. Use the food you already have at home to create a picnic lunch and spend the day at the park. Since you want a slightly new experience, consider driving the extra 10 or so miles to visit a new park in a different town.
Local parks rarely have admission fees, but state parks do. Luckily, this fee is affordable. In fact, many charge by car instead of by each person. State parks tend to have more activities. In addition to a playground, you may gain access to a natural swimming pool, barbeque pits, and more. Most importantly, most state parks have long, scenic hiking trials. Your family could easily spend the day at a state park for as little as $10.
Many communities are also home to museums. They may be large or small in size. Unfortunately, these museums, especially those designed for families and small children, tend to have high admission rates. You could easily pay at least $5 a person. If you wish to visit these types of attractions, save ahead of time. Take your spare change to the bank, don’t eat out for two weeks, and so forth. Also, look for special admission prices or discount coupons. Many attractions charge less the later you arrive towards closing.
Since you are basically not leaving home, but having a series of day long vacations, it can be easy to get bored. For that reason, seek the help of your children. Ask them what activities they would like to do or what attractions they would like to visit. As long as the activities are semi-affordable and you all have fun, your “family vacation,” should be amazing, even if you don’t travel far from home.