Budget Vacations –
Cheap Getaway Tips for Families or Couples

Can you afford a nice vacation? How do you take budget vacations? A recent MSNBC poll showed that half of Americans do not take summer vacations, including 65% of those who make $30,000 a year or less. 

I am a big fan of vacations for a couple of reasons. First, sometimes it is nice to get away with your spouse for a few days to strengthen your marriage. Everyone needs a break from the children from time to time. Secondly, family vacations to the beach, mountains, 
Disney World, or a historical site allow you to create memories that will last a lifetime. 

The question is: If you want to continue living debt free, can you really afford to take a vacation? 

If you are drowning in a lot of credit card debt, I do not recommend taking a vacation at this time. Start to pay down your debt first of all. When you have that under control, this is what I recommend: Save $5.00 a week over the year towards a family (or couples) getaway. 

Saving $5.00 a week over a year will give you enough money ($260) to go camping for a few nights at a basic campground, or go to a hotel/motel in your state for a night or two. You will have to take a cheap vacation, but you will still get to have one. Then, the following year, maybe you can save $10 a week for a longer vacation.

Here are a few strategies for budget vacations: 

1. Try camping if you are an outdoors type family. That said, avoid the chain campgrounds where you will pay nearly as much as a motel. We like the small, out-of-the-way places, where a basic campsite with electricity will cost you around $20-$25 a night. State parks and some national parks cost around $20 a night—a really cheap vacation! 

Free Printer-Friendly Camping Checklist 

2. look on ebay for condo or timeshare units that people are unable to use. Our family stayed at a prime resort location during the height of vacation season for only $350 for the week with a last minute deal. Just be careful and check credentials.

3. Cook some of your meals on vacation if possible. If your motel has a kitchenette, just eating breakfast and lunch there can make your vacation more of a bargain. 

4. Take budget vacations off-season. This is a great plan for a romantic getaway or a home schooling family. Go on vacation in September, when the water is still warm, the beaches are less crowded, and rates are half the price. 

5. This is a novel idea, but if you have a house in a nice or desirable neighborhood, consider a home exchange. By definition, a home exchange allows you to stay in someone else’s home (in a location of your choosing), while they stay in yours. It requires a certain level of trust and security, but thousands of families participate. 

In short, you do not have to sacrifice a yearly vacation to live debt free. There are many options for cheap vacations, and more become available all the time. Your children will always remember the memories you make building sandcastles, seeing new sights, or sitting around a campfire. 

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Use Home Exchange to Make new Friends and stay for Free 
I have to say the best budget travel tip is home exchange. We have been able to go places and stay longer than would have been possible if we used hotels …

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