Great Summer Family Vacations on a Budget

Who couldn’t use a vacation? Some time to getaway, unwind and relax while spending time with the family. I know I sure could use a holiday! Vacations can get expensive, especially when you are paying for a hotel room, transportation, entertainment, activities, and food for an entire family.  However, there are many things that you can do to keep the cost of your vacation down and you will not have to sacrifice any of the fun either.

One option that you have for a budget friendly vacation is to plan a trip where your hotel, transportation, entertainment, activities, and food is all included in the price that you pay.  Disney and Universal both offer this type of vacation and while it is still a little costly, it may end up being cheaper than other vacations that you can plan on your own.

Cruises are another option if you are looking for an all-inclusive vacation.  While the excursions and your transportation are not included, your room, food, and the majority of the on-board entertainment is.  Most cruise lines have comedy clubs, live music, and kids’ clubs, so everyone in your family will have something fun to do while they are on the ship.  Plus, who can turn down the possibility of eating twenty-four hours a day for free!

There are a few cities that have a large variety of things to do that will not cost you a dime.  For example, the Smithsonian Museum and the zoo in Washington D.C. have free admission every day of the year.  The monuments and Arlington Cemetery are also free and your entire family will learn a lot during this type of vacation.  It can be expensive to stay in Washington D.C., but there are more affordable hotels a short distance away in Arlington, Virginia.

Camping is a wonderful way to keep vacation costs low, because your hotel is a tent that you place in a local campground.  It is much cheaper to rent a campsite than a hotel, so that alone can be a significant savings for your trip.  There are many National Parks that are perfect for camping and your family can start working your way down the list until you have been to them all.  Once you have completed all of the National Parks, you can start working on the State Parks that are located throughout the country. In Canada there are many free campsites to stay on, just look at provincial camping to find one near you.

If your family loves the beach, there are a few places where you may be able to get a great deal if you book your visit far enough in advance.  The Outer Banks, Myrtle Beach, and Destin are three possibilities that you can consider.  Each one is filled with family friendly activities that you will all love including the beach filled with sun and sand. Not as well known as the more popular destinations, but still lovely and great for families.

Great Summer Family Vacations on a Budget

Family vacations do not need to cost a fortune and you can save quite a bit of money if you do your research and plan your trip well in advance.  Even flights can be more affordable if you book ahead and watch for deals. The best thing to do is get your entire family involved in the process and get ideas of what everyone wants to do.  Once you have that list, you can start finding destinations that are within your budget or that may even cost less than what you want to spend.  Use your imagination and be creative and you may be amazed at what you can do with even a small vacation budget.

What money saving vacation tips do you have to share?





  1. Family vacations can be so stressful in our home. We personally go the camping route often as the boys love it and it is so much cheaper.

  2. A BIG way to save is packing light if you’re flying. Airlines will charge you out the nose for luggage!

  3. I am really hoping to go camping this summer with my kids. I think it would be so much fun, we can bring our pups and my kids have NEVER done it! Also, CHEAP!

  4. I find cruises to be quite affordable for families which is why we do at least one a year. Also for us we would often book in April just slightly off season and found that you can save a bundle on trips then. Love that we are able to save and do what I love to do travel as a family together. Oh and check the flight apps and web sites – there are some amazing flight deals if you scan early enough.

  5. These are great tips and reminders!! We do need to plan our family vacation and money has been tight.

  6. I am so glad I am not the only one counting the costs of any vacation with food and activities. I agree the all inclusives make a lot of sense and I try to avoid flying with a family.

  7. reesann723 says

    We went on a cruise last spring and honestly, it was the best time! We were able to leave right from NYC and we didn’t have to spend another dime once on the ship. We ate, drank and had a blast!

  8. I do want to do a big camping trip somewhere nice and scenic. The Outer Banks is one of our favorite places to visit for short getaways!

  9. If we’re flying we only check one bag and then take individual carry ons, that way we pack light and everyone is responsible for their own things. If we are road tripping in the summer we always opt for a KOA cabin instead of a hotel and bring our own bedding, it is at least half the cost of a hotel room.

  10. Claudia Krusch says

    I always look for a resort that is all inclusive. It is so much easier for us that way. The kids love the all you can eat buffets.

  11. Ann Bacciaglia says

    These are great ways to save on a trip. I always stick to my budget when I am booking. Asking for free upgrades is always worth a try.

  12. I cannot wait for our family vacation in June. It should be really fun!

  13. We love camping, it’s what I grew up doing because it’s all we could afford. Some of my best memories.

  14. D.C. was probably one of my most favorite places to visit with my family, even if it was during an inauguration of a President. I love the Smithsonian museums, and the fact that they are all free, makes it worth the drive from Chicago!

  15. Lots of great tips and things to consider when planning vacations. When our kids were little we almost always camped (I still love camping)!

  16. Family vacations are the best! I love when I can take the whole family on a vacation AND save money!

  17. It can be so expensive to take the whole family on a vacation. The finanacial stress almost makes the trip not worth it. A national park does sound like a lot of fun!

  18. I’m always looking for deals when going on vacation. Flights and hotels can get so expensive.

  19. Great suggestions! I love the fact that there are activities that the whole family can take part in that don’t cost a dime like the museums and camping. There are soooo many things to do without having to spend any money doing them. It’s a matter of doing a bit of research.

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