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Affordable Vacation Alternatives: Families Can Stay Close to Home and Still Have Fun

Published by Norris Beadle

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Travel expenses such as gas, airfare and accommodations are skyrocketing faster than ever, causing the average family to re-evaluate its typical vacation plans. Luckily, there are many affordable options for families who are willing to be creative when it comes to vacationing. Consider “staycations” or “daycations”, the new trend in family vacations. Instead of spending a week on vacation, families find activities close to home and make the most of their time and money by taking local day trips. This can be a cost-effective alternative to the expensive family vacations of the past.

Local Activities for Affordable Family Vacations

While big cities have the upper hand when it comes to the quantity of nearby activities available to frugal families, every city has something to offer the budget-conscious family. Some ideas for affordable day trips include:

Beaches/Parks/Recreational Activities. No summer vacation would be complete without a swim at a local pool or beach. Families can make a day of fun in the sun by packing a lunch, sunscreen and beach towels and hitting up their local community pool or beach. Another option for outdoor family fun is hiking and biking at a local park.

Museums. Many museums offer specials during the summer geared toward students on summer vacation. Sign up with local museum mailing lists to receive advance notice about upcoming events and special unadvertised discounts.

Zoos and Aquariums.Kids and animals go together like peanut butter and jelly. Make a day of treating them to a local animal-based attraction like a zoo, aquarium or petting farm. Most of these places offer the additional benefits of shows and plenty of hands-on activities like feeding the animals and pony rides.

Other ideas for family staycations include: fairs, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, camping trips, local historical attractions, music concerts, art exhibits and family movie day.

How to Find Local Activities and Events

Finding things to do close to home can sometimes be a challenge. However, local newspapers, libraries, schools or recreational departments are a great source for listings of upcoming events and activities off-the-beaten path. Think like a tourist and pick up local guides for ideas often overlooked by locals.

Also check with local stores and restaurants, as they sometimes offer discount coupons for local attractions. Hotels also offer locals deep discounts in addition to special package offers, which might include a two-night stay with tickets to a local museum or other attraction.

Families no longer need to go away to have a memorable vacation. By staying close to home they can discover the hidden gems in their own communities while still sharing that all-important family time together.

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