How to Plan a Vacation when Money is Tight


Some families are booking airplane flights to travel across the country, dreaming about big resort experiences or talking about taking a cruise. Other families are looking at scheduling and budgets and realize there’s just no way to do an elaborate vacation during the summer months. Here are some real life tips to help us all plan a vacation when time and money are both in limited supply.

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How to Plan a Vacation when Money is Tight

Let’s face it. We would all love to do elaborate vacations every year but in reality that’s not always possible. Here are five ways to plan a vacation that will give big rewards in memories, photo opportunities, and family bonding experience without crushing a non-existing budget or a limited time schedule.

Evaluate your options

What options do you have? Look at the city and area near you. Are there state parks, historic landmarks or free museums that you have not visited in a while? Most people think we have to travel long distance is to find beautiful outdoor locations. But places like Mill Springs Battlefield Mill are all around us just waiting to be explored.

Plan a vacation around a family visit

Do you have family that you are planning to visit that have room for some extra sleeping bags on the floor? Can you plan a trip to see them and ask them for a place to throw your air mattress while you go explore their city. Chances are you can bundle family time with out-of-town relatives and have a vacation in their city and experience quite a few new things.

Set expectations

Now is a good time to sit down with your family and set expectations about the summer plans. Get everyone to weigh in on something that they would find fun during the summer months. Then try to incorporate something for each person. Establish the expectations that the budget is tight but there are still lots of options for fun. Turn this into a family challenge to help save spare change in a piggy bank so there will be some extra money for a few fun adventures.

Charge your Phone & Take Pictures

One of the best parts of a vacation is the long-term memories and photo proof that you can enjoy all year round. Whether we are on a big road trip or just driving to the local big city for a doctor’s visit or shopping trip, we always look for ways to sneak in some cool photo opps. Look for those roadside attractions, the city murals, or the interesting free public sculptures that makes for great pictures. Then don’t be afraid to interact and have some fun.

Have you ever planned your summer fun around a limited budget of time and money? What are some ways you have saved money and created memories on a budget?

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