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Affordable Family Summer Vacation Ideas on a Budget

Posted by MoneyKey on September 16, 2019
a happy family vacation on the beach

Sometimes, a vacation is just what you need to unwind and take your mind off the stresses of your everyday life. But it can be more than just a way to relax. If you’re travelling with your family, a vacation can also be a great way to create memories that you and your kids will treasure for the rest of your lives. The problem is, taking your entire family on vacation may not be an easy thing for your budget to handle, especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. But there are still ways to plan affordable vacations for large families.

You may be able to find deals, discounts, and packages at places like Kayak or DealBase if you take the time to plan ahead and do your research. You can also try doing things like:

  • Look for vacation packages in the offseason.
  • Fly in the middle of the week.
  • Look for cheaper accommodations at hostels or on Airbnb.
  • Don’t check your bags.

You should also consider the vacation destinations you want to travel to. While it might be nice to take your family to a remote tropical island, this likely throws any ideas you had about affordable vacations for large families out the window. Instead, look into less expensive destinations for families like Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls, or Gatlinburg.

Maybe your plan is to skip the pricey airfare altogether and hit the open road instead. If you’re planning to take a road trip, look into ways you can lower your road trip budget and still have a great trip with the family!

If you can manage to stay flexible, take some time to assess your finances, and stick to some well-researched budget travel tips, there are ways to have fulfilling, affordable vacations for large families. So, to help you out, here are some family summer vacation ideas on a budget.

Family Summer Vacation Ideas on a Budget

person using map and laptop to plan out vacation on a budget

As we’ve mentioned, affordable vacations for large families are within the realm of possibility, but you probably won’t be going to somewhere overly exotic. Still, you may be able to create plenty of great family memories, which is what a family vacation is all about!

The age of your kids is going to factor into your planning, and when you have young kids, they’re often happy just to be somewhere that’s new for them, be in a hotel, and swim in the pool. As long as you focus on creating memories and doing things that your kids will find fun, the destination won’t be all that important. When that’s the case, you can pick a destination that’s on the cheaper end and still have a great time!

As careful as you may have planned everything out, things don’t always go according to plan when you’re travelling. Sometimes, emergency situations pop up, and if your budget is already stretched to it’s limit, you may not have the money to handle it. If you run into an unexpected emergency expense that your savings can’t cover, consider online loans with monthly payments. An online loan may be able to help get you through an emergency situation on your vacation until you get your next paycheck, and best of all, you can apply for one anywhere you get internet!

Now, let’s dive into some ways to plan affordable vacations for large families.

Take a Staycation

A “staycation” is exactly what it sounds like; a vacation you take from the comfort of your own home! This can be a great way for your family to save by cutting back on travel costs – like airfare, gas, accommodations, etc. – and gives you the opportunity to take local adventures you may have not otherwise experienced together.

You could do things like:

  • Sight-seeing in a nearby national park.
  • Visit historical sites in your area.
  • Go to some local attractions and hangouts that you and your family have never visited together.
  • Find inexpensive local tours.
  • Go to local museums.

You may be able to find hotel discounts provided to locals or packages deals that make visiting places close to home much cheaper. Check out group deal websites Groupon and Living Social to find deals on things like food, hotels, and all sorts of local activities for you and your family.

person relaxing by the fire on their staycation

By cutting out a lot of the usual travel expenses associated with a vacation, you may be able to create a vacation experience without spending typical vacation prices. But when your family is out and about, accidents can happen. Maybe someone hurts themselves on a hike and needs to visit the emergency room, or maybe your car breaks down on the way to an excursion. If you run into an unexpected emergency that your savings won’t cover, an online loan with loan installments may be able to help get you through it.

Create an Active Vacation

When you’re planning things to do with your family on your vacation, you may find yourself planning a lot of passive activities. This could be things like going to a professional sporting event, seeing a play, or going to a movie. These can often get expensive when you have to pay for the entire family. They also may not be the best way to interact with your family and create a lasting memory.

Some of the least expensive and most engaging family summer vacation ideas on a budget are active. For example, taking a hike with the family can be a great way to spend an interactive afternoon outside, and there’s generally no cost of admission!

Even when you have to pay for some of these active activities, doing a ropes course outside is likely going to cost you less per person than going to a pricey play in the evening.

When you’re planning for this type of vacation, it may help to incorporate these vacation savings into your budget calendar. Visit our blog to learn more about what a budget calendar is and how you can you use it to keep track of your finances.

Book with Owners

One of the biggest expenses on your vacation will likely be your accommodations, and getting hotel rooms for the whole family isn’t cheap. If you’re looking to get the cheapest hotel room possible, you’re probably not getting many amenities along with your room.

Airbnb apartment

One way to find more reasonably priced accommodations is to book through owners. If you want to do this, Airbnb will likely be your first stop. Sites like Airbnb will let you rent a room in a home or condo – or often the entire residence – from the owner themselves, and you’ll often be able to find accommodations for less than a hotel while having access to all the amenities of the home you’re staying in. This means you’ll likely have access to a full kitchen for you to cook your own meals instead of splurging on eating out.

In addition to Airbnb, you might want to check out sites like VrboHomeAway, and FlipKey. They offer similar services, so be sure to look at what they all have to offer before you make any decisions on accommodations. Read reviews from other renters before booking anything, as they’ll give you an honest look at what the accommodation has to offer.

Look for Package Deals

To help you plan an affordable vacation with a large family, consider looking for package deals. You might be tempted to look for individual deals on things like care rentals, airfare, and accommodations, but you may be surprised at how much money you can save if you bundle the services together and  purchase a package deal that includes everything you need.

Check out sites like Travelocity, Expedia, and Orbitz to look for packages specifically for families. You can also look for packages offered through airlines. But don’t stop your search with these sites. See if you can speak to a travel agent to get quotes on package deals. After you’ve looked through these sites, received quotes, and figured out what it would cost to book all these things individually, you can compare all your options and go with the best deal.

These Tips May Help You Plan Affordable Vacations for Large Families

Vacations may not be cheap, but they’re a great way to get away to relax and create some lasting memories with your family. Even if you’re on a tight budget, if you plan ahead and start incorporating savings for a vacation in to your budget far enough in advance, you may be able to put enough money away to have a great vacation with the family during the summer!

If you’re trying to save, look into things like:

  • Planning a staycation.
  • Finding inexpensive, active things to do with your family.
  • Booking your accommodations through owners.
  • Looking for package deals.

We hope these family summer vacation ideas on a budget help you, and if you want more tips to budget for a vacation in the summer, check out this article to learn more today!


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Lifestyle

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