Budget Vacations Can Be the Best Kind
Budget vacations are sometimes the best kind. This is because your focus changes from where you’re going to go to what you’re going to do. The emphasis becomes more on having fun and enjoying time together.
Finding Packages and Special Deals
Start your vacation search online, and you’ll be surprised at the package deals for couples and families. Packages often include transportation. If not, don’t forget the frequent flyer miles you might have been saving for the big trip that hasn’t happened yet. And remember that miles can be used for room accommodations as well as for air transportation.
There are some helpful vacation resources close at hand that sometimes get overlooked. If you’re a AAA member, check out what they have to offer in travel aids, which can range from travel guides to discounts. AARP also offers similar services to baby boomers. When booking reservations of any kind, be sure to ask about discounts that come with membership or special service such as the Armed Forces discount.
Some of the most popular packages for families are built around Disneyland or Disneyworld. Check out online sites such as www.expedia.com for discount tickets for one or two night stays. Look for lodging where kids can stay or eat free. Get a room with a refrigerator and prepare meals yourself and take advantage of the downstairs free breakfast buffets to get a good start on the day. Make eating out a highlight of your trip rather than a daily routine.
The Home Exchange Vacation
There are also some twists on vacations that make good sense dollar-wise and add a sense of adventure. It may take a little more planning ahead but you may want to consider a home exchange for an inexpensive vacation. There are many online sites that facilitate home exchange. Your home becomes a vacation destination and the same applies to the other party. You might even end up meeting some new friends as part of the bargain.
The Helping Others Vacation
Less popular but worth every ounce of energy and dollar you have to give is volunteering to help out a community somewhere in the world. This is a true adventure as much as a vacation. It means setting your sights higher and a little farther afield, but it’ll probably be one of those things you do in your lifetime that you’ll always remember with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. To find out more, go to www.globalvolunteers.org or www.volunteerhg.org.
The All-American Family Camping Trip
And let’s not forget that great American tradition—the camping trip. There is usually a good selection of camping grounds within a four-hour radius of wherever you live. If you live close to a National Park, take advantage of a carefully preserved piece of American wilderness. You may not be able to feed the bears these days, but you can still see one outside of a zoo compound, which is something for you and the kids to talk about until the next vacation. There is also hiking, fishing, roasting marshmallows, canoeing (or renting a boat to get to the center of the lake where the-one-that-got-away is still at large), and sitting around the campfire sharing tall tales and unforgettable memories. And don’t forget the ghost (or zombie) stories when the lights go out.
What Happens in Vegas…
On the other side of the coin, you and your partner—and now the whole family for that matter—can go to Vegas and visit America’s most unique, remarkable, and bright (as in lights) city. Rates for good clean rooms start at $50.00 to $75.00 a day. Keep your hands in your pockets when you pass the one-armed bandits, take in some affordable stage shows or free magic acts, cruise the strip, and watch the people watching you. Remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas so stare as much as you want to.
Another very affordable way to have fun on the cheap is to stay home. Sometimes sitting in your own backyard without a chore in mind or taking a nap on the couch or reading the books and watching the movies you’ve been putting off all year long will do you a world of good. As Robert Orben says: “A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”
And another fun twist on the traditional vacation is to go to your credit union and buy something that will get you going somewhere all year round. Alliance Credit Union offers financing of up to 100% MSRP on boats, jet skis, ATVs, motorcycles, and motorhomes. Hey, maybe it’s all about the ride after all.
Have fun and be safe whatever you do and wherever you go.