If you are on a budget and/or in savings mode, a family vacation might seem a bit out of reach. You can’t be frugal all of the time, especially when you have kids. You need to take some opportunities to make some memories. That does not mean that you have to completely blow your budget though. Let’s check out a few little vacations that you and the family can take that will keep you on the right financial track. Here are 5 great family vacations for under $500.
1. Two Days In A Cabin
You can rent a two to three room cabin in most parts of the country for around $150 a night, especially if you choose a few days during the middle of the week. This will give you accommodations to easily sleep a family of four with room to spare should one of the kids want to bring a friend.
The great thing about a cabin rental is that all of the entertainment is free, you will just be enjoying nature. Spend about $100 on food for the family and you are all set.
Spend your time hiking and exploring the area. Choose a cabin near a lake and you can even take in some swimming and/or fishing. Wrap up every night by hanging out by the camp fire and you will create some strong memories.
With accommodations and food coming in well under the 500 dollar mark, a cabin rental makes a great family friendly vacation that will not break the bank.
2. Take A Road Trip
You might have nightmares about being stuck in your car for hours on end with your kids, but if you plan it out well, it can all turn out well. The trick is to plan out a lot of stops and activities.
Overall, try to keep the stops no more than 2 to 3 hours apart. Any more than that and you are pushing the patience of most children. For longer stretches, be sure to have plenty of car activities. Coloring books, car games and of course some movies.
As far as destinations go, it will depend on your starting point in the country. Good choices include national parks, museums and small historic towns. There are a lot of free or nearly free things to do along most routes.
Between destinations, stopping for food will be another major highlight of your trip. Use Yelp to find some unique eateries along the way. Try not to stop at common places like McDonald’s or Taco Bell, choose something different and memorable.
When it comes time to sleep you have a lot of budget friendly options. Camping is a great choice at around $20 a night if you have the space. Also, if you have relatives anywhere along your route, a free room is always nice. Worse case scenario, you pick a clean motel for under $100 a night. Book in advance so that there are no surprises with cost or availability.
The key to a successful road trip is to keep it casual. If you think that you can travel 400 miles a day, plan on going 300 or even 200. Take it slow so that you can enjoy the trip and not be pressured to stay on schedule.
3. Go Camping For 3 Days
If you like to rough it a bit more than what a cabin provides, camping the old fashioned way might be a bit more up your alley. Even better, you can do it for a lot cheaper than a cabin stay. Who says you need a lot of money to have fun.
Even if you do not have camping gear, this makes a perfect and inexpensive trip. A tent that easily accommodates up to 6 can be had for under $100 at any sporting goods store. Then just bring blankets and pillows from home to complete your sleeping accommodations. Get four folding chairs for $50 and the campsite is all set.
If you are a novice camper, primitive campsites can be had for $10 to $20 a night, depending on the park that you want to stay at. For that price, you typically get a camp site complete with fire pit and access to bathrooms. Shower access is even a possibility at some parks.
As far as food goes, even if you do not have a cooler, you can pick one up along with three days of food and enough ice to keep it cold for under $150. That brings your three day stay to $360 at most. Not bad for a vacation that your kids will remember.
4. Have A Night In The City
A vacation does not have to be long to be memorable.
Why not have one good day in the city. Choose a nice hotel for around $300 a night and then go for a walking tour of the city. Use the remaining $200 in your budget to have a lunch at an inexpensive hole in the wall and then enjoy a nice fancy sit down dinner with the rest of the money.
Finish the day off by returning to the hotel to enjoy the amenities, particularly the pool.
In the morning, enjoy the complimentary breakfast and head home refreshed.
5. Enjoy Your Own City
Of course the ultimate budget friendly vacation is the staycation.
There is probably so much to do in your city or within an hour or two that you can skip the hotel and just stay at home. Do all of the thing that a tourist would do in your city but that you probably never have.
Hit the museums, go to a waterpark and visit some restaurants that you have never enjoyed before. The possibilities are endless.
Be a tourist in your own town and be able to sleep in your own bed every night. Win, Win.
There are a lot of ways to enjoy yourself with your family that do not break the bank. So, skip the vacation loan,loosen the purse strings slightly and have a good time while making some memories.