Fun, Educational, and Budget-Friendly Family Vacations

Keep the following budget tips in mind when you are planning your family vacation:

  • Plan ahead and use the Internet to search for travel deals.
  • Ask travel agencies about travel packages that offer additional bonuses like kids’ stay free offers, tickets to dinner, a show, or amusement park, etc.
  • Check out all-inclusive or bundled packages.
  • If you are able, travel off-peak.
  • Check out last minute travel deals one or two weeks before your planned travel dates.
  • Seek out discounts through your professional memberships or affiliations such as AAA, the military, etc. and coupon sites such as,, etc.
  • Reserve lodging with a kitchen. You’ll save a ton of money if you can eat one or two meals in your room.

Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner. Has your family been thinking about or begun planning a summer vacation? Are you seeking some fun, educational, and budget-friendly ideas?  It’s not the cost of a vacation that makes it fun for parents and children; it’s the time spent together as a family. Take a look at some of these ideas for family vacations on a limited budget.

A National Park Road Trip


Consider a family road trip to one or more of our country’s national parks. You can’t beat their natural beauty and the cost of admission. The National Park Service offers a Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. They also offer senior, military, and volunteer passes. Click here for more information.

A Scenic Tour of California’s Coastline


How about a drive along California’s scenic Pacific Coast highway? You can camp along the way or stay in inexpensive hotels. Check out Free Maps and Guides. They offer vacation travel guides covering the entire state of California. If it’s within your budget, consider taking the trip via train. Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train passes through the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara, Sacramento and Portland. This route is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular of all train routes.

A Mid-Atlantic Historical Trip

Acquaint yourself and your family with the Mid-Atlantic region and teach your kids a history lesson in the process. Consider visiting Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Gettysburg, Colonial  Williamsburg, and the national monuments in Washington D.C. Wiki Travel offers a wonderful free guide of the Mid-Atlantic region.

A Housing Swap in a Different City

Consider joining a home swap club like Home Link, Home Base Holidays, Home Exchange or Love Home Swap and swap your home with another family who’s looking to travel on a budget. There are no lodging expenses and you can eat all your meals at home. You can find home exchanges in other countries too! You should start the process at least six months in advance since finding the right home swap partner can often take a couple of months.

Backyard Bargains


Seek out fun places in your own “backyard” such as family camps, dude ranches, working farms, or even Grandpa and Grandma’s place.

  • Check out your local YMCA for a listing of family camps. They are a great way for families to have some fun in the woods, check out wildlife, participate in organized activities, guided hikes, etc. Lodging options include tent sites, cabins, lodge rooms, and even resorts.
  • Check out or for information about the perfect Western Dude or Guest Ranch experience.  Some ranches are open year-round. They offer lots of activities for families including but not limited to swimming, fishing, dancing, horseback riding, western entertainment, hiking, etc.
  • Young children love farm animals so consider a family vacation at a working farm where your kids can gather eggs, milk a cow, feed the animals, or go on a hayride. Check out and connect with farm and ranch stays throughout the United States.
  • A trip to Grandpa and Grandma’s can always be an inexpensive family adventure depending on where the grandparents live and the types of  activities they have available at their home or in the surrounding area.

Family vacations don't’ have to be costly to be fun. Plan an adventure for your family that’s within your budget, make some new memories, and eliminate the regret that comes from overspending. 

Use as a means to create and track your family vacation goal as a family.  FamilyMint can make budgeting lessons easier by providing a fun and educational way for children, with the help of their parents, to manage money and build financial literacy. Their easy and intuitive award-winning online money management application has helped thousands of parents raise money-smart kids by teaching them about financial goal setting, and forming the types of financial habits and behaviors that will lead to financial success.

Check out and invest in your child’s future financial literacy and entrepreneurial success.