8 cheap family summer vacations
Traveling on a budget
Yosemite National Park, Calif.
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Yellowstone National Park
Medomak Family Camp, Maine
The Black Hills, S.D.
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Since I have been poor my whole life, my version of a vacation is going to the beach or mountains camping for a few days (each about an hour away).
I never got to ride on an airplane until I was in the Military. I still had a pretty good life.
Never mind the small things. Be grateful your alive.
Trying to be creative for my family on our fifth staycation. Our income is down, taxes are up and gas prices higher than ever we've painfully decided to stay home again and just watch the Obama's go on vacation from our 11 year old TV.
Local kids come over for camp out, fire and toasting marshmallows. Slip and slides, squirts with the hose and games.
Then we watch the Obama's go on their second vacation of the summer.
Well, as a lifelong Frugal-Meister, I never fly any more to vacation anywhere. I limit myself (?) to vacation places within about 500 miles of my home. Within that area is the Smoky Mountain National Park (one of my very favorite vacation places). and places like Myrtle Beach, SC - as well as other mountain places. It also includes Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. 500 miles is very drivable. I also don't mind camping out as it saves considerable amounts of money which would be spent on hotel/motel fees. When camping, you can purchase your food at local supermarkets and/or farmer's markets.
The museums, etc in Washington, DC are also worth many days of visiting. The Delaware beaches are well within my range. So, I can visit mountains, seashore, rural areas, cities, etc.
Look at a map. What is within 500 miles of your home? Anything interesting? Anything you haven't seen yet?
Who writes these columns? Travel agents who get the freebies. These are not cheap trips for a family of four. Do they suddenly get transported via Scotty for a no charge.
What a ridiculous and FALSE article. That family camp in Maine would cost my family of four over $4000 for one week. Are you kidding me? We’ll go back to the Jersey Shore, where we rent a house a half block from the beach for under $1500 for a week thank you very much.
The Wawona Hotel starts at over $120 per night, so your research is off, too. Not as cheap as you are saying! Definitely not cheap for me.
We are going to Yellowstone this summer and believe me there are NO hotels/cabins for 58/night!! The "starting at" rate is for the off season, not peak (summer) season. The title for this story is, 8 Cheap Family SUMMER Vacations. The below is taken right off the Old Faithful Inn web site. Do your homework MSN.
Old Faithful Inn Information
|Old Faithful Inn|
|East Wing Geyserside||$249.00|
|East Wing Standard||$221.00|
|West Wing Frontside||$232.00|
|West Wing Standard||$165.00|
|Old House Room||$139.00|
|Old House Room with Shared Bath||$103.00|
|Old House 2 Room Unit||$235.00|
|Old House 2 Room Unit with Shared Bath||$192.00|
Lodging rates are per night, for up to 2 adults and do not include tax and utility fees. Most rooms available online allow 2 to 4 people per room. Larger room sizes may be available.
Rates and dates subject to change without notice.
*ADA rooms are available.
First place on the list has sleeping in a TENT costing at least $73/night.
To quote: "If you're concerned about costs, now is the time to start planning..."
WRONG. The time to start planning is at least six months' out. A full year is better. Make a budget and set aside funds every month towards the vacation. Don't plan to fly anywhere, unless your vacation budget can handle the high cost of air travel, but do consider car rental if your vehicles are older. At a recent family reunion in Branson, it cost one couple with four kids $2000 to drive the 1500 miles each way. The price tag included car rental, hotels, meals and free or low cost sightseeing along the way. Their vacation was planned well in advance. No five star hotels were involved; instead, the family shared a two bed room at places like Super 8, with the older kids (11 and 9) in sleeping bags on the floor. The kids had a great time.
The article caught my eye because of the word "cheap" in the title. Suggesting $3-4K per week, airfare across the country, city cultural passes, and so forth for many Americans with children is insultingly not "cheap." The author sort-of caught on with a few national parks, but she didn't expound upon it, and the rates given for Old Faithful and the Wawona inns are only for a small, basic (not probably do-able for families) room during the shoulder seasons, not summer.
Some ideas for spending less and still having fun:
1. Get away for the day. Look up (online, in the newspaper, at the library... ) what's free and fun within x-miles of your house. Many museums, state fairs, etc. offer a few free or discounted days during the summer. Order a few states' travel guides or check them out online.
2. Drag out the map. Be curious. Include the kids in the decision-making for your day-long adventure. Even what may initially sound boring to them can be made into a scavenger hunt (mark off all of the covered bridges, waterfalls, etc.). Pack a picnic. Come home late and pick up a pizza to avoid kitchen work that day.
2. If money allows, and if your travels make it $$ worthwhile, purchase a national park pass for $80 and go exploring. Day trip it if overnights are too expensive. A state park pass is also a good option.
3. Team up with other relatives and trade houses for a few days, if the drive is do-able. The Orlando family might love a week in Chicago, and vice versa.
Planning and curiosity are key. Frugal fun isn't a punishment; it's an opportunity to be creative!
They should have written an article about how vacations are stimulating to the mind and body rather than try to lamely suggest a trip will be cheap because you can get into parks for little money. Tavel expenses, food, shelter, time away from work...the list goes on and on.
Wow! Can not afford to travel to these places. I live on the east coast but prefer not to beach it. If I was to go to South Carolina might as well go all the way to Florida. Sure could enjoy one of the popular theme parks down there.
If you live on the East Coast there is an amusement park in Elysburg, Pa that offers FREE ADMISSION, FREE ENTERTAINMENT AND FREE PARKING!!! Knoebels Amusement Resort !!!! (it's pronounced K-NoBels... the k is not silent!) Ride tickets or all-inclusive handstamps are significantly cheaper than the other parks in Pa. Food is very affordable and can satisfy an entire family or bring your own food and drinks and eat at one of the many picnic tables around the park! You can even ask about using one of the charcoal grilling stations located in the picnic area! Also Knoebels has there own camping area or within minutes or a few miles are numerous other reasonable campgrounds and tons of local and historic sites to be seen!
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