Cheap Family Vacation Ideas

Guest Post:

Cheap family vacations don’t have to be nightmares of bad food, worse service and lumpy beds. There are lots of cheap family vacation ideas that will create memories, and that fit within your budget. Cheap family vacations don’t have to break the bank. Please leave your best family travel savings tips in the comments!

  • Camping In Your Own Backyard

Camping is one of the almost free family vacations. You can camp directly in your own backyard, saving gas money and travel time. The best thing about camping in your backyard? A real working toilet just a few steps away. All that is needed is a tent, some food, sleeping bags…things that most of us have in the home already. To entertain the kids, play games such as a night walk (searching in the dark for bugs and night creatures), a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt, and name that sound. Backyard not your thing? Try state parks or nearby campgrounds for memorable cheap family vacations.

  • Check Out A Nearby Town

Another cheap family vacation idea is to visit towns or cities in your own state. We become so immune to what’s going on in the communities because we live here and work here. There are tons of events, shops and sights going on around you all the time. To get the most out of this cheap family vacation idea, do not go to a town or city that you frequent. Many cities offer free events, museum admission days, free concerts and more. Check the local paper or website to find out what is going on around you.

  • Take A Staycation

Another almost free family vacation. A staycation is simply when you stay home, disconnect from all the various electronics in your life and enjoy your time with your family. Play board games, card games, truth or dare, go for a nature walk or even a bike ride. Take the kids to the park, or that museum you’ve been meaning to go to. The possibilities are nearly endless. This is time to reconnect with your family, to really focus on them. After all, isn’t that what family vacations are all about? Mini-staycations are possible at any time as well, as they can encompass just an evening.

  • Check Travel Websites

Staying close to home not your thing? Then check out travel websites for cheap family vacations. Here are 24 sites Kiplinger the personal finance magazine recommends. If you travel in the off-season, prices are usually reduced. There are many places to choose from, but make sure its one you feel comfortable with. Keep an open mind and check many destinations to find one that is both cheap and pleases the family. See if they offer group discounts, or if any of your affiliations have discounts available.

Now go out there and create memories with these cheap family vacation ideas!

Raiscara AvalonThis guest post was written by Raiscara Avalon. A freelance writer and single mom with many interests, Raiscara often wonders how to fit everything into a day. A dedicated multi-tasker and perpetual dreamer, she somehow does it all, or as much as humanly possible.

Please show our guest poster some love and leave a comment with your best vacation tip. Thanks!


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  1. House swap! It’s for the slightly adventurous/assume-the-best-in-people kind of folks, but can be a neat way to switch lives with someone and cut way down on lodging expenses. There are websites out there that’ll facilitate it. I’ve never tried it, but I know it’s one of the options out there.

    B&Bs are a good value as well. No matter what, you’ve already got one meal taken care of.

    1. Hey, Jon. That’s one I’ve never tried. I did meet a great guy from London on a scuba diving trip, who offered to put me up at his three floor house in the city if I was ever in London. I emailed him about 6 mo’s later and even though he and his girlfriend were taking a trip to the French wine country when I was there, he left his keys with a neighbor for me. Now that’s trusting! He had only met me once. Per your suggestion, that movie “The Holiday” was about a house swap, right?

  2. Nice text, I totally agree with you, sometimes these vacation could be much more entertaining than the expensive ones. We do a camping vacation every year, not in our backyard but we have found always nice and cheap camping places in the neighborhood. And the idea of the staycation is really genial I think, sometimes that’s all we need to get unplugged and be with the family together.

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. Yes, I believe Raiscara has made some excellent points. Too often we spend more than we can afford when quality time could easily be had closer to whom, or at least on a budget. Just the other day our 3½ year old daughter asked if we could go camping. I think she’d seen it on a NickJr show. I’m thinking me might start by pitching a tent in the living room? 😉

  3. JDaniel is waiting to sleep outdoors in a tent. He think it is a great idea. I am all for camping but, only if we go some place else. If I am at home, I would rather be in my own bed. Our ground is really hard.

    1. I hear you. I’d prefer my bed, too. I was kinda hoping our daughter might go for camping in a tent pitched in the living room? If we camped outside I’d rather go someplace like a national park (preferably someplace cooler than Texas), e.g. the Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. 🙂

  4. Great post!

    Speedy has been begging to camp in the backyard… of course it’s 19 degrees outside right now…

    But I plan to this summer! We do need a tent though… hmm… 🙂

    1. On behalf of Ms. Avalon, I’ll say, “Thanks!” Yeah, It might be best to wait a bit for that camping expedition out back. At least until it’s above freezing? 😉

  5. Once in a while, my family engage in staycation. It is really a good time to bond with each other; something that will not happen if we are hooked on to Facebook or to any of those sites.

    1. Thanks, Christy. We did a staycation over the holidays. I was off for a week, and it was really nice to spend so much quality time together. Yes, unhooking from social media, at least to some degree, is important during that time.

  6. Hey very good post… these are great inexpensive ideas. As a kid, we used to pitch a tent in the backyard and camp out. It made for many great childhood memories and we were plenty happy with staying in the yard…

    1. On behalf of our guest author, thanks, Angie! I must admit the backyard camping option is sounding more and more attractive. I’ve got a queen-size air mattress. Would it it be too unmanly to use that in the tent? Also I just looked up tents on Man, they have gotten much more fancy than the pup-tents of my youth! I could live in one of these things. Which I’d probably need to do given it’s price tag. Yikes!

  7. Camping out is definitely one cost-effective idea for a vacation. Getting a holiday in another place along with the children absolutely is a great time to reconnect with your family.

    1. Hi Grace. My wife and I have been watching some of the TV shows that have come out lately about Tiny Houses. Life in one of them must be rather like living in a tent? The kids can’t all disappear into their own room. There often is only one room.

    • How About a Playcation? | GrandmaCents on at

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