Mississippi Money: Seven Ways to Have the Best Vacation for Next to Nothing!
Summer vacations are immensely rewarding experiences for your children. Just navigating new streets and hearing new stories is a learning experience. A big and meaningful vacation does not have to be expensive. Here are some ways to have quality family time, an unforgettable summer, and not break the bank:
1. Book an AirBnB in a new city. Pick a city that you can drive to in just a day or so and “move in” to your new home for a whole week. It will be cheaper than a hotel, and you can live like a local in a totally new place!
2. Skip restaurants for two of your meals every day. Of course you are going to want to try local cuisine and sample a famous restaurant, but you can’t afford to do that every meal. Stock your vacation home with fruit and cereal for breakfast, a few snacks, and plan a few simple dinners. Lunch is the best meal for trying local flavor, and it usually costs a lot less than dinner at even the most fancy restaurants.
3. Explore your new neighborhood. Sometimes the impulse is to fill every hour with a new activity, but even a marathon vacationer needs to take a break. Spend a day walking in the neighborhood or window-shopping with no time pressure.
4. Set your children on the task of finding off the beaten path activities and sites. Every city has a multitude of stories – let your children pick the ones that interest them most. They get to take ownership of an activity and can get exactly what they want out of a vacation. I always look at local newspapers and even Wikipedia to discover unique experiences in a new city.
5. Check for walking tours. Many cities have free walking tours or guides to historical markers. If you can’t rally the family to trek the whole distance, you can pick and choose some interesting sites and explore the area around them.
6. Cities not your thing? National and State Parks offer some of the most incredible experiences, even if you don’t have camping equipment. Many parks have cabins or lodges that can fit the family – just book those early to secure them. If you have a tent or two, camping can be a great experience for the gung-ho family.
7. Mix your vacation with other business. Explore a college campus with your high school children, send your younger kids off to day camp, and visit with old friends to add a practical side to your vacation.
Summer is not a time for your children to stop learning. Exploring a new place or even exploring your hometown in a new way can be a valuable learning experience. This summer, simplify your vacation planning and get your children more involved in the process.