Many affordable holiday options are apparent. Fun can mean a temporary change of scenery within 100 miles of home or a change of pace at home.
From day trips to house exchanges and discount travel opportunities, vacations don’t have to mean super-sized gasoline expenses or trying to find the cheapest, often dingy, motels. Instead, the venue for fun and relaxation can be as simple as a change of pace at home or taking time to appreciate nearby landmarks.
Save Vacation Dollars with Change of Pace
Traveling long distances, especially with children, can be a nightmare beyond costing too much money. However, fun with others and memorable moments often have nothing to do with spending money. Here are some ideas:
Name one day or evening a week as vacation time and plan for hiking local trails or spending a day lakeside or at the beach. A picnic is doable on a cheap food budget. You must eat wherever you are.
Plan a new activity with a spouse, friend, or children. Learn to do something new. Paddle a canoe. Go fishing. Try inline skating. Have a taffy pull. Rally neighbors for a monthly block party and talent show.
Send the kids to Vacation Bible School or enroll them in a local summer recreation program. Check to see what local libraries and regional museums offer summer activities. Have neighborhood competitions. Organize a pet show.
Budget Vacation Destinations
Within 100 miles, a change of landscape is common. Check out state and national park sites, but avoid tenting in recreational areas unless you already have the equipment. Good camping equipment for a family can cost $500, which buys a lot of gas.
A list of State Parks is usually readily obtainable. The United States National Park Service has 394 sites spread across all states but Delaware. Some, such as monuments, battlefields, old forts, and historic sites, are best for day trips and weekend excursions. In contrast, the seashore and lakeshore recreation areas and those highlighting scenic rivers and trails are ideal for more extended vacations. Check out the list of these venues.
Low-Cost Vacation Lodgings
House exchanges with friends, relatives, or former neighbors can be no-cost vacation lodgings and a chance to explore a new region. With this bargain, you can afford the cost of more gas to take you a greater distance.
Low-cost lodgings include rental cabins in state parks. Take another family with you because you can often pack 8-12 people in these lodgings, plus you have a cost-sharing partner.
Discount cruises are something most people wouldn’t put on a low-budget vacation list. Still, cruises are also hurting during the current economic crisis and offer last-minute deep discounts for unsold cabins. It is ideal for couples. Vacations to Go lists these discounts year-round. Often they are between 60 and 70% off of the regular fare. Add up the cost of gas, food, and lodging to take off down the road yourself and see the difference. It is, of course, a better bargain if you live close to ports where cruises originate.
Making Vacation Memories
The fun people generate lasting vacation memories have with their loved ones. Quality vacations need not depend on how much money is spent, or the distance traveled. Instead, the lasting quality often is characterized by how much the vacationer laughed and how deeply shared with others the experience was.