May 11, 2010

My Top 10 Creative and Affordable Vacation Ideas

I love traveling.  Whenever my husband asks me what I want for any occasion, I always let him know I want to go on a vacation.  We are middle class so we do not have loads of money to travel.  Let me tell you what we do to save money so I can travel.  By the way, I have visited 43 of the 50 states.  To visit more travel ideas, you can find many blogs from Twitter Moms in this discussion

  1. Shop around if you want to stay in a hotel.  There are many different online sites where you can shop around for the best price.  The sites I use the most are priceline (name your own price), expedia, orbitz, and hotwire
  2. Camp and save money. I found I loved camping last year.  It was a great way to save money and it was fairly comfortable.  We were at an amusement park.  Hotels around amusement parks are not cheap so we got a tent, some air mattresses and camped.  For this year's vacation, we are going to camp 3 nights and stay in hotels for two nights.  You can even find camp sites near the beach and in most State and National Parks.
  3. Drive  My husband, son and I have almost always drove everywhere we are going.  If you fly somewhere and want to get around, you will need a rental car.  You can make it to California from NY in less than 4 days driving. We know because we have done it.  You can make it to Florida in less than 32 hours.  AND you get to see the country while you are driving.  If you want to stop, you can stop and look around.
  4. Go on a mini-vacation within 8 hours of your home  Go to your local and adjoining states travel department and find a destination you would like to go.  You can easily drive there.  Sometimes it is nice just to break away and go somewhere for a long weekend.  There are several places you can drive that are close to home that you have probably never thought of visiting.  
  5. Visit local museums  So, you are REALLY short on cash, but your children want to do something fun?  Bring them to a local museum.  I know within half an hour of our house (our town of 15000 is the most populated in the county) we have a Native American Museum, several historical museums and a train museum.  We also have a college that has an art show.  The great thing is some of the museums may be free, or cheap.
  6. Don't feel like leaving the house... rent movies!  I have to tell you, sometimes I am not motivated to leave my house when it is cold or rainy, but my son wants something to do.  He considers it a vacation when I rent a whole day worth of movies.  Almost every town has at least one video rental store.  Go get those movies you grew up watching.
  7. Go on a Family History Vacation  You know that we all came from grandparents and great-grandparents.  Do you want to find out more about them.  Go to your ancestors areas and find the local library with history books and newspaper microfilm.  More than likely, you will be able to find out more about your ancestor.  If you are feeling really daring, go to the courthouse and get birth, marriage or death records (not all courthouses hold the same records.)  Get your ancestors will and land records.  If you are feeling really daring, go walk around around a cemetery and take pictures of your ancestors gravestones.
  8. Bring your significant other on an romantic vacation  I am lucky, my twin sister lives with me and I live in the same town with most of my siblings.  If you don't have family that lives close that will watch your child(ren), find someone you trust to watch them.  Bring your significant other to a hotel overnight.  Go out and eat too... unless you don't want to.
  9. Go watch a non-professional sports game.  I know that my family and I enjoy watching sports, but the professional sports cost a lot of money.  You can probably have just as much fun watching a Triple A or Minor League baseball game.  Go watch a college or basketball football game.  
  10. Visit to carnival, fair or amusement park  We go to Knoebel's Grove Amusement park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania every year.  We do we love this park?  Because, they don't charge you to go into the park.  They only charge if you want to ride the rides.  You buy the rides per ticket.  I know sometimes you can even buy an all day ride pass.  I don't like to go on the rides, so it is a waste for me to go and spend money for most amusement parks.  My son and husband loves rides.  I enjoy watching them love the rides.  Carnivals and fairs are great... I like them because of car races and/or demolition derbies.  There are usually very good deals on the rides at carnivals too.   
I hope that some of the above ideas can help you and your family have an affordable family vacation.  For those who ask what states I still need to visit, they are: Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, and Minneso.  I don't remember Alabama, Arkansas, or Tennessee since I was much younger, but my parents assure me that I have been there.

Affordable Vacation Ideas
Toyota Sienna

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the Toyota Sienna and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here


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