This subject really excites me because I love taking vacations I never thought possible or just getting creative and making things work, when you thought you didn’t have enough money to do ANYTHING. There is a vacation for you, no matter how big or small.
Let’s divide these up into categories, because as your family changes, so does what you can and should try and do.
Vacations with Younger Kids
One of the most affordable things you can do with younger kids is camp. They love it, it’s affordable, and it’s a complete bonding time with your family. Getting the stuff ends up being the biggest expense, but once you have that in place you are ready to go again and again. This can last for years as the kids are younger and even as they get older they love to bring along friends. (If you want to camp but are trying it out for the first time, consider borrowing a few things from friends if they’re willing).
Okay, so camping isn’t for you. Well then, let’s look at another idea.
Yep, it can be done affordably. Let me give you my first tip here. Younger kids can miss school and they will be alright. We took advantage of the time our kids were younger and took them out of school to do a vacation during the slow seasons.
A few years back we took our kids to Disneyland in early May. Everyone was still in school, it was just after the big Spring Break rush and right before the big summer rush. Prices were killer as well. We went through Alaska Airlines, and we booked the air, hotel, shuttles (so we didn’t get a car) and hopper passes for 5 days, all for a pretty reasonable price.
We took snacks to eat in the park, so when it was time to eat a meal we didn’t need something huge. Then we ate dinner out of the park. Not only that, but the park was pretty empty and we could ride any ride we wanted with very little wait.
These tips can be applied to so many different types of vacations, not just Disneyland!
Vacations with Tweens/Teenagers
This is when things start to get tougher. You have schedules that need to be kept during school and lots of activities in the summer. Time to get creative!
We started watching the school calendars of places we were going to. If they were in school and we had time off, we went. Again, we try to choose off season, so airfare is reasonable and we can get great deals on hotels because they need to fill them.
We also took a super affordable vacation to Mexico over Christmas a few years ago. The key here was choosing a less desirable location. The location we chose, Mazatlan, was by far cheaper than the others. As a matter of fact, my daughter found this great deal. (She was 14 at the time and determined to hit the sun for Christmas).
She ended up getting us an all-inclusive resort for 7 nights, 8 days for $2500. We had miles so airfare was free and we only left the place a few times, so out of pocket while we were there was right around $200. The place was great, but not over the top amazing, we shared a room with a cot. We hung out at the beach or one of the three pools every day, and we were perfectly happy.
Another idea that is cheaper than a hotel is renting a house for a whole month. This also cuts down on food as you can purchase things to make so you aren’t eating out all month long. Plus, the rental for a month is a lot less than renting a hotel for 30 nights.
My last tip, and this goes for any and all age groups: Be willing to look in your backyard for vacation destinations. So often we think we need to get on a plane. My husband and I recently went an hour away and had an amazing time in a town we had only driven through. Our time was relaxing, enjoyable and we felt like we were somewhere else. No airfare, very little gas and no lost time traveling.
This is just a sampling of ideas. It’s possible to get away. It’s also possible to take the vacation you never thought you could.
This is a guest post from Amy who is always on the lookout for a great vacation, whether far away or close to home. She looks for every affordable way to make it happen!
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