6 Family Summer Vacation Ideas On A Budget

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For a family on a budget, planning for the costs of vacation can seem like an insurmountable task. After all, the average cost of a vacation for a family of four is $4,580. That definitely does not sound budget friendly. Most Americans are taking vacations they cannot afford. The good news is, with careful planning and preparation you don’t have to hang up the idea of a vacation within your budget.

On average, Americans spend 10% of their annual income on vacation. When you look at the big picture numbers, it is surprising how much debt we incur when there are other options. There are plenty of family summer vacation ideas on a budget and they can be just as exciting, relaxing, and enjoyable as those high-priced vacations.



family summer vacation ideas on a budget

When planning your family summer vacation ideas on a budget, house swapping is not anything new. People have been trading places for affordable new experiences for decades. It’s an incredible way to immerse yourself into the culture of the place you are visiting. You can still experience the tourist’s point of view but from a more cozy perspective. Not only that, but it is also the closest thing you are going to get to free as far as accommodations go. The stay itself actually is free. You read that right, free. You just might have to be flexible with your travel dates and destinations.

Read More: Hotel safety protection when traveling

At first thought, you might be quick to dismiss the idea as too risky, but it’s actually quite safe. Over the years more and more house swapping companies have cropped up to provide a platform for people to connect for this very reason. When you are trading spaces, it requires mutual trust and respect which often results in both parties being happy and satisfied with their experiences. Companies like Love Home Swap and Intervac Home Exchange make it possible to communicate with verified house swappers.

This way you know you are in the best possible situation and all claims have been verified as extensively as possible. The only fee you are looking at for this service is a monthly fee to be a member of one of these house swapping websites. Those fees can vary from a monthly fee of $11-20 or a yearly fee of around $159.

TIP: Modes of transportation and accommodations are the biggest expenses for a vacation. House swapping can free up a ton of funds to stay within or even under your budget. As far as summer vacation ideas on a budget go, you cannot beat almost free – if you are willing to try something new and unconventional.



No matter where you live, there’s probably an attraction city somewhere within a reasonable driving distance. An attraction city is somewhere with a lot of tourist attractions. Cities with subway systems are great for the experience and for cheap transportation from site to site. Not to mention, most sightseeing is free. Fill most of your time with the free options, then throw in one or two options that might require an admission fee such as children’s museums, theater shows, or sporting events.

Airbnb rentals are a great choice for lower cost accommodations. If prices are still high in the city, consider staying on the outskirts for lower rates if transportation is not an issue. It is the first of the perfect family summer vacation ideas on a budget to consider rather than hotel stays.



Believe it or not, there are still beaches out there that are largely residential and have not yet been heavily commercialized. If you’re looking for lasting, free entertainment for your kids, you cannot go wrong with the beach. Hotels will be cheaper at the beaches less traveled and Airbnb’s are also a great option since some people might have a seasonal property rental available. While there might be fewer chain restaurants and other typical beach type shops in a less commercialized area, that will actually help you save money.

Look for accommodations with a full kitchen so you can plan ahead with groceries. Limiting the number of meals you eat out will save money and allow you to stay in more residential areas where it doesn’t matter how close you are to restaurants.



Taking a cruise with a family sounds like a pretty expensive endeavor. But the average cost per person, per day, is actually only $79! Which includes meals, snacks, beverages, taxes, and port charges. It also includes many onboard activities, entertainment, and even childcare. That means if you have a family of four it would be possible for you to take a 5-day cruise for around $1580. That is significantly lower than the average cost of $4,580 for a typical family vacation mentioned earlier. That is a huge saving, not to mention that it takes away so much of the stress of planning activities, meals, and entertainment. Perhaps the best part of this family summer vacation idea on a budget is that you can opt to pay for the whole trip in payments.



When you are looking for entertainment for the whole family for days on end, you can’t go wrong with a water park. Plus, water parks typically include the whole shebang of accommodations and entertainment with either a package to purchase for the whole trip, or discounted water park tickets for staying at the resort. The only other necessary expense will be travel to the resort and meals with these family summer vacation ideas on a budget.

Water parks also offer the unique perk of avoiding possible bad weather if you find a resort with both indoor and outdoor parks. Unfortunately, the weather can sometimes throw off your vacation experience and your budget, but this is a fail-safe option.



If your family enjoys the outdoors, the possibilities for fun on a budget expand greatly. There are national parks in every state, which means no matter where you live you are probably close enough to drive to a national park. Excessive expenses are limited for this family summer vacation idea on a budget. You might have to pay an entrance fee to the park, which averages $25 per car for a week in most national parks, and camping fees will average $10-20 per night. Those fees are far below most vacation accommodations which makes this a great family summer vacation idea on a budget.

Additional activities to consider for your family summer vacation ideas on a budget may include hiking, swimming, and campfires. In some national parks, you can find historical structures to explore, kayak rentals, paddle boat or board rentals, and so much more.

Start exploring more options that aren’t a la carte to drop the prices while you rack up more vacation activities. Kids almost always enjoy just about anything outdoors and those activities are typically very low cost, if not free. Any additional costs would be found in gear or supplies, but would still add up to a steal of a deal in comparison to other vacation ideas.


Ready to go overseas? Be sure to visit the German markets with kids.


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Finally Some Family Summer Vacation Ideas On A Budget

Photo credits: pexels.com

Heather Bennetthttp://www.thegraceandmoxielife.com/
She is a wife and dog mom of two. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and exploration of new places. She is a certified personal trainer and health and fitness coach. She loves writing and gets to express that through her personal blog and here at Every Avenue Travel.






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