by Gilly Brewster
With the continual rising costs of gas, food and the expense of living in general, families are forced to cut back just to afford the necessities. One of the things being considered to scratch is the annual family vacation. But, you’ve worked hard all year and the family needs a break and time to get away and bond. Yet, it must be affordable.
A new word has been coined: “staycation”. Many families are making theirhome the base for a stay at home vacation. Do you really know what your hometown offers in the way of fun and adventure?
Call your local Chamber of Commerce or the Visitors and Tourists Bureau. They can offer a myriad of ideas for things to do close to home, many of which are free or very reasonable. There are special events, festivals, museums, parks and zoos, lakes and swimming pools. You save money by eating and sleeping at home.
Consultants say to make this work treat it just like you’re on vacation in a new town. Include a couple of visits to a local fancy restaurant. Mom’s on vacation too. You could also schedule a short day trip to a nearby attraction.
A camping trip is also a good inexpensive option and if you travel in off peak times such as October and March it’s less crowded and cheaper. Pitch a tent, cook over a campfire and hike in the woods. You’ll not onlydiscover nature but yourselves. Some family camps can be had for a thousand dollars a week for four, including meals, lodging and activities.
If you must leave town try to do the bookings yourself and dig deep for discount hotels. Stay in a 2-star hotel instead of a 4. You may have to bring your own toiletries but the savings would be worth it. Many lower priced hotels offer a free breakfast. You can eat hearty and skip lunch.
Sometimes the price of a suite or a condo is cheaper than renting two rooms if you have a large family. Save money and enjoy the down time in a hotel pool, hot tub or health club. Relax and stay healthy. Take advantage of what’s already paid for.
An all-inclusive resort may be within your budget especially if it’s off season. It’s hard to find a venue that doesn’t cater to families and for one price everything is included from meals, drinks and lodging. Many are located on the beach with countless activities for all ages. Big bargains are being found south of the border in Mexico if you’re willing to do some research.
Theme parks are also a good choice for families. Once inside the park most everything (except food and drinks) is included. This means free shows, rides and picnic areas. You can usually stay several days at a theme park and never do the same thing twice.
Check out their package deals and save. Determine your limits. Study your destination and strive for the best value. Plan with a carefree spirit and whether you opt for a staycation or vacation your family will love the adventure.