Over the past 5 years, my family has been blessed enough to take a vacation every year. And every year I am faced with the challenge of putting together a fun, memorable vacation that everyone will love and that is affordable.
When our family was smaller, this process was a little easier because it seems like the whole world is based on your family size not exceeding FOUR! Well, we are now a family of 6 and the standard hotel room with 2 double beds is just not an option; at least not for stays longer than 2 nights. Airfare would eat up more than 1/2 of our budget, food would take up the other ½, and I will not even start on the theme park tickets. So what is a family to do?
Step 1– Choose the theme of your vacation: adventure, relaxation, beaches and sun, theme parks, or history and culture. Adventure vacations and sandy beach vacations are by far the most cost-friendly vacation themes.
Adventure vacations include low-cost outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, bike riding, and camping. This vacation theme is perfect for older children.
- Top Adventurous Destinations
- Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington
- New Paltz, New York
- Mount Hood, Oregon
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
- Park City, Utah
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Moab, Utah
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, California
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Olympic National Park, Washington,
- Hood River, Oregon
Acadia National Park, Maine
Sandy beach vacations are also extremely affordable and include surfable waves, sandcastle building, great dining, and mile long boardwalks. This vacation theme is great for all ages especially babies and toddlers.
Best Family Beaches in US
- Coronado Beach, Calif.
- Nantucket Island, Mass.
- Newport Beach, Calif.
- Santa Barbara, Calif.
- Panama City Beach, Fla.
- Siesta Key, Fla.
- Poipu Beach, Hawaii
- Duck, N.C.
- Hilton Head, S.C.
- Kiawah Island, S.C.
- Myrtle Beach, S.C.
- South Padre Island, Texas
Wailea Beach, Hawaii
If you decide to take a theme park vacation, find out if your bank or employer offers discounted tickets. Avoid purchasing tickets on eBay or Craigslist, unless it is from a reliable seller or broker. Also, many theme parks now offer the convenience of child swap. With child swap, one parent can wait in line with the older children while the other parent goes up the handicap ramp with the smaller children. When the other parent gets off the ride, you swap and get right on the ride without waiting in line again. GENIUS!
Step 2 – Choose your means of transportation: fly, ride the train, or load up the car.
Your most affordable option would be to drive. Even if you find a great deal on air fare, chances are you will still need to rent a car once you land, so cut out the middle man and drive. However, if you do decide the fly and rent a car, go to where you can ‘Name your Price’ on airfare and car rentals and …