Getting away seems to get harder and harder and lately, making sure that being able to travel safely as well as on a budget can be a balancing act.
That’s where we come in, we’ve done extensive research on where you can get the most bang for your vacation buck.
Keep in mind, budget friendly will vary when it comes to your own person circumstances and not to mention the area that you are traveling to.
Below, you will find, general recommendations on family vacations on a budget, as well as popular areas that are often researched when people are seeking out a budget friendly area.
General tips for a family vacation on a budget:
In general getting creative when it comes to being able to travel with in specific budget restraints often boils down to where you are going to stay.
Inexpensive transportation for vacation.
Let’s face it, short of transportation (which if you are anything like my family, you road trip more than you fly) your lodging expense makes up the bulk of cost of your trip.
Unless you fly a budget airline like Frontier or Allegiant you probably will find that driving to your destination will end up being cheaper because it will cost a few tanks of gas versus several hundred dollars in airline tickets.
Securing inexpensive accommodations
If staying at a super amazing resort ranks high on your list of must haves, then finding a family friendly all inclusive resort is perhaps the route that you should consider.
But, if your family would be happy staying at a campground (even if you don’t have access to an RV) that’s something to consider! At this point you are probably wondering why you would consider an campground option without an RV. The reason is that often times, these campgrounds and RV parks have cabins that can be rented as well. If you do a search, you can find them under “KOA cabin” they range in price greatly, but the price range is usually between $90 -$200 per night for up to a 2 bedroom cabin with a kitchen.
Saving Money on Meals while on Vacation
Another thing to keep in mind when you are looking for ways to save on a family vacation, is to get creative with meals. If you can secure a hotel room or place to stay that has a kitchenette, or even better a full kitchen, and bring food along with you from home that you can eat for 2 of your meals.
Sometimes my family and I will bring a big box of cereal, disposable bowls and utensils and grab milk once we get into town. Pop-tarts have come in handy many times as well.
In that same sense, a quick sandwich or another easy lunch that can be packed as you are leaving your hotel (or KOA cabin!) is a way to keep food cost low. When we have gone this route with food, we make the plan to eat out for one meal a day.
Our family loves discovering local restaurants when we visit new places. So, I am certainly not suggesting missing out on local cuisine, but rather offering suggestions on how to visit a new area cheaper.
Budget Friendly St. Louis
St. Louis is a fantastic place to vacation and the large majority of the popular attractions are free or extremely inexpensive.
We have written an in-depth piece about St. Louis under $90 per day for a family of 4.
If you have the money to splurge while you are in town and taking advantage of the low or no cost attractions, check out The St. Louis Union Station.
Best Family Vacations on a Budget in California
Camp in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is a bucket list destination for many to begin with, and a 7 day pass that covers all the occupants of your car is a total of $30. Pick a campsite in Yosemite, just keep in mind that there could be current restrictions associated with camping. This is a pretty budget friendly vacation that would be one that you’d never forget.
Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake is a great family destination and if you plan things well, in terms of the time of the year that you visit as well as the accommodations that you choose, it can be a fairly affordable trip.
There are some really great cabins along the lake. In the Winter you can ski and snow tube, and then in the Summer you can enjoy lake activities like boating and fishing.
Best Family Vacations on a Budget in Texas
Visit the “Grand Canyon of Texas” otherwise known as the Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
I know you are picking up on the theme here but camping starts are $16 per night and what better place to get in touch with nature than camping in a beautiful canyon? There are 16 miles of paved road to explore, tons of mountain biking trails, plenty of horse riding paths and everything in between that you can think of when it comes to a vacation that allows you to get in touch with nature.
On the Gulf Coast of Texas, head to Galveston Texas.
Galveston, Texas is a coastal town with a lot of charm and a super affordable inn. The Inn at the Waterpark is just the lodging on a budget that you are looking for in Galveston. A room with two double beds starts at $89 per night. The Inn at the Waterpark is situated next to Moody Gardens and the Schlitterbahn Waterpark. The Inn has on site an awesome pool and mini golf.
Best Family Vacations on a Budget on the East Coast
Myrtle Beach South Carolina
A beach vacation in general can be a very budget friendly vacation. You can certainly employ our strategy of eating on a budget while you are on vacation. From hotels to vacation rentals you can find an inexpensive place to stay.
Myrtle Beach has been named time and time again as one of the most budget friendly beach vacations. We’ve put together a list of the best resorts in Myrtle Beach, the list wasn’t created with budget in mind so you will need to get creative with dates.
Washington DC is a great city to explore, it is breathtakingly beautiful when the cherry blossoms are in bloom just keep in mind that the lodging prices will be more expensive. There are so many fun things to do with kids in Washington DC and the best part is many things are free, not to mention all the learning that happens while you are exploring the city.
Best Family Vacations on a Budget in Florida
Pensacola Beach Florida
Pensacola Beach Florida is a fantastic family destination for those who are looking to get away to a Florida beach without breaking the bank. There are lots of different free things to do as a family and inexpensive beach rentals to choose from if you can’t find a hotel that is in your price range.
New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach Florida is a lesser known, and there for not as crowded vacation spot in Florida. The dunes on New Smyrna Beach Florida are a fun place to explore as well as the boardwalk and taking in nature and the native animals.
Best Family All Inclusive Resorts on a Budget
An all inclusive resort, if chosen well, can be a money saver for you and your family. The key is doing your research in how to to choose an all inclusive resort. There can be hidden fees and not everything ends up being included so make sure that you are well versed as to what the resort offers.
Tell us, what is your favorite place to vacation as a family while you are on a budget?