Top 5 Tips for Cheap Family Vacation Ideas

by Meg Massie 
Posted Dec 2nd 2010 09:05 AMUpdated Jan 11th 2011 04:15 PM

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Cheap family vacation ideas

It's important to travel with your family. Kids learn more about the world when they experience different things, and parents need to get away from home sometimes, too. But when you add up expenses for traveling with the whole family, it can get pricy in a hurry. Cheap family vacations don't have to compromise on fun -- you just have to pick the right kinds of family vacation destinations, and be creative to stretch your dollars as far as they'll go. Follow these tips to start planning your next fun and cheap family vacation.

1. Select a family vacation destination you can get to easily. Cheap family vacation spots are usually going to be driving distance from your house -- if you have to fly there, it's going to be hard to keep your trip under budget.

2. Consider more than just hotels. If you need more than one hotel room for your family, chances are that you can find cheaper options by forgetting about hotels altogether. Cabins, condos, and beach houses typically run cheaper than hotels when you rent by the week. For a truly cheap family vacation, consider options like camping or staying with relatives. If these alternatives aren't available, find a hotel that offers family vacation deals. Many offer discounts on a second, adjoining room for your kids.

3. Select a destination with lots of cheap family friendly activities. Hey, it's great if you can find cheap airfare to Disney for your family, but once you get there, you're still going to spend an arm and a leg on park admission and the various forms of entertainment your family will want to experience. The best cheap family vacation spots are also places where most or all of the attractions are free. Think about natural attractions, like beaches, mountains, and lakes.

4. Avoid peak season. When you travel with kids, you are probably limited by their school schedule, which means you'll be planning your family vacations for the most crowded, most expensive times of year. Will you be able to relax enough to make a family trip like this worthwhile? If you think not, consider other times of year when you can travel. Maybe there's a random four-day weekend in the school calendar in the Fall. Are there lots of nice weekend getaways near your home? Try taking two or three quick, cheap family vacations on weekends during the school year instead of a week-long, stress-filled vacation during summer break.

5. It's okay to splurge on some things. The biggest mistake you can make in planning cheap family vacations is to be way too cheap across the board. Don't deny your family a nice vacation experience just because the prices are a little steep -- remember that when you save money in lots of parts of your vacation, you have a little room to indulge. When you cut back on lodging and travel costs, you're building room in the budget for those overpriced tourist attractions your family will love.

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