Sometimes a cheap family vacation is the only way to travel if you’re on a budget. The good news is, though, that there are a lot of ways to make it happen. Check out these 10 ideas to help you plan your next frugal vacation.
I don’t know about you, but I love taking my family on vacation. I truly wish it could happen more often. The problem is, though, that they’re expensive. At least they usually are.
But, they don’t have to be.
If you use the ideas here, you’ll be able to save money on your next vacation, which means you can probably go more often. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?
I’m up for it.
See which ones would work best for your family and start planning your next trip today.
Click Here to See How to Plan the Perfect Family Vacation
#1. Go Camping
This is one of my favorite ways to vacation on the cheap with a family. Many camping spots are free or very inexpensive. There are cheap ways to get your camping gear, too. Read my post about 12 Frugal Camping Ideas for Families, over here.
#2. Visit Family or Friends
I know that it doesn’t always feel much like a vacation when you’re visiting family, but you can save a ton of money when you do. It’s a great way to have a nice visit with people you care about and have a frugal vacation at the same time.
Try to prearrange some of your time so that your hosts can stay engaged with their own jobs, school, activities and you also have time to run around with your immediate family and experience the local attractions.
#3. Plan a Staycation
We have loved the chance to visit some of the attractions that are within 30 miles of where we live. It’s amazing how we see these things every day and don’t bother stopping, but other people will drive hours to visit the things that are practically in our backyard. Learn to appreciate all that there is to do in your area. A lot of things are even free from nature parks, hikes, and beaches to museums, sculptures, cultural, and sporting events.
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#4. Set up a Backyard Tent
If you already own a tent, this is practically free. When we’ve done this before, we have to set up rules or we would just end up hanging out inside all day. Here are some of the ways we’ve made it feel more like a vacation.
- No Technology Allowed
- Only Use the House for Cooking and Using the Bathroom
- Set Up a Firepit Outside (this one is portable)
- Make S’mores
- Eat Typical Camping Food (hot dogs, canned beans, sandwiches, etc.)
- Have Camping Activities: frisbee, card games, hiking, playing catch, star-gazing, frisbee tag
#5. Find Water to Play In
There are so many water activities that are frugal or completely free. The kids love spending the day at the lake, beach, or riverside. Splash around in knee-deep water, skip stones, go fishing, body surfing, or just build sandcastles. If it’s too far away for a day-trip, camp somewhere close or get a reasonable rental.
#6. Rent a House Instead of a Hotel or Motel
Getting a house instead of a hotel allows you a lot more freedom. There are typically fewer fees and added expenses when you rent a house. It will allow you to easily make your own meals, have free parking, and spread out.
#7. Cook Your Own Meals
You can save tons of money on your vacation by cooking your own meals. It really is a cheap way to eat when you’re traveling. The meals you make can be delicious and simple so you won’t have to spend much of your precious time cooking, either.
Here I share How to Make Hotel Room Meals in Your Instant Pot and How to Pack a Hotel Room Cooking Box. Both of these will give you lots of ideas to help you save money on your next family vacation.
#8. Stay within Driving Distance
Flying is expensive! When you stay within driving distance, you can save a lot of money on transportation. You will also have a lot more knowledge about what activities you can do that may be cheap or free.
- Here is the Ultimate Guide to Family Road Trips
- Family Road Trip Tips – Top 10
- Road Trip Activities for Kids
#9. Cheap or Free Vacation Activities for Families
You may be tempted to go to Disneyland, Legoland, fancy museums, and waterparks. I mean … those things are so much fun. But, they’re super expensive and if you’re looking to have a vacation on a budget, they’re probably not going to work.
Instead, there are so many free or cheap activities you can do on your vacation. Just Google, “free things to do in (your vacation location),” and you’ll see all kinds of things to do that are specific to that area. Here are some simple activity ideas:
- Local Parks
- Visiting Historic Landmarks
- Walking Tours
- Beach Play
- Visit Old Friends
- Bike Riding
- Disc Golf
#10. Keep it Short
A shorter vacation is a cheaper vacation. Plan to go for a weekend or just for a couple of days during the week when things will be less crowded. This will actually allow you to go more often, too, because it will stretch your vacation budget.
When you’re trying to live your life on a budget, there’s no reason not to enjoy some vacation days. You can have the best of both. Keep living the frugal life, but enjoy some days off, too.
The ideas here will help you do just that. Have a fantastic vacation with your family that is relaxing, exciting, and cheap.
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