Ideas for Family Vacations on a Budget

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One of the challenges families face, especially when they are attempting to save money, is how to participate in the summer tradition of heading off for vacation while not breaking the bank. Fortunately, there are hundreds of various ways you can take advantage of vacation time without worrying about how much money you are spending.

Before you book a hotel, airline, or other accommodations, make sure you have a clear plan. Vacations do not just happen; they require you to save money ahead of time so you will have the funds needed to enjoy your time off work. You can use your favorite money-saving apps to create a vacation fund. This allows you to put money away any time you can to fund your dream vacation.

Just because you have saved money for a vacation does not mean you want to spend every dime you have saved, nor do you want to exhaust your savings. Therefore, finding great ways to spend your vacation without spending a lot of money, is important. Here are some great and easy ideas for family vacations on a budget:

Consider Vacationing in Your Home State

One of the wonderful benefits of living in the United States is nearly every state has something to offer. Regardless of where you live, you can take a day, a full weekend, and in some cases several days, to fully explore local attractions. Here's some of the attractions offered across the United States. If you visit your local Chamber of Commerce website, tourist bureau website, or the website of your local town, chances are you will find a list of popular attractions.

Explore U.S. National Parks

Some of the best family vacations on a budget can happen in any of the beautiful parks located throughout the US. National parks, wildlife refuges, national forests — in total, there are more than 2,000 federal recreation sites where you and your family can explore, have lunch (that you bring with you to save additional money), camp for a fee, or just enjoy the sights and sounds around you. There is a one-time fee for an annual pass, or you can save even more money by purchasing a lifetime pass for less than $100.

The cost of a pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees, and day-use fees to all these areas. When you stop and think about how inexpensive this is, for very little cost, you and your family can spend hours together and still not spend very much money.

Head to Washington DC for a Day

Washington DC has over 100 attractions that are free to visit. You and your entire family can spend time at museums, water parks, and more. You can visit a local grocer and pick up any food you and your family need which can save even more money.

If you're feeling adventurous and want to avoid the cost of a hotel, consider one of the great camping sites and make it an even more cost-effective vacation option. Since the weather in DC can be questionable, make sure you do some advance weather checks to see if the weather is suitable for camping. When you're pitching a tent, the last thing you want to worry about is getting flooded or having it blow over in a windstorm. With a bit of advance planning, this can be a great option, even if the outdoor weather is wet and dreary since there are countless indoor attractions at a low cost.

Consider "Off Season" Travel

Remember, while many of us think about summer as being the most likely time to travel, it is not the only time. In fact, you can save a lot of money by traveling when others have decided vacation time is over. Not only will you get the benefit of saving money, but you will also spare yourself big crowds and over-priced flights.

Make sure you take the time to set up alerts on your computer or phone to help you identify when a special flight price might be available. Many airlines offer special deals where you may have to book a flight six or more months in advance to get the best deal. Sites like Momondo search all airlines across the globe and help you identify the best possible prices on flights all year long.

Making sure you have time away from work is important to make sure you have time to refresh and recharge. However, the last thing you want is to stress yourself out over the high cost of travel. If you take the time to consider all aspects of your vacation, you can have a wonderful time and still avoid breaking the bank.