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You don’t need talent to vacation on a budget. All you need is a little motivation and bushel of TLC. Big budget vacations are grand, but we’re here to share how you can make a cost-effective vacation for the whole family decadent and memorable.  The first step is to take a deep breath, and let go of any expectations you’ve placed on yourself. Planning a vacation is fun! You’re preparing to relax, rest, and rejuvenate. The process should set the example for the great escape.

Get Back To Nature

Campsites are some of the most affordable places to stay, and they provide a back to nature adventure money can’t buy. Many campsites are free, and you don’t have to buy the latest gadgets and gear. If you don’t have a tent, borrow one from a friend or buy the basic model. Two basic tents (sleeping two persons) can run for as low as under $50. Find extra savings at Camping World.

Bag snacks and supplies – you can load up from places like Sams or Costco on sodas, water, jerky, and dry storage goods. Take a camera and notebook, and record your adventures. Leave the iPhones, iPods, and iPads behind. Look to campfire stories, nature walks, and old-fashioned books to entertain! Camping is the old fashioned way for a family to bond.

Put Your Thinking Cap On

Free and low cost activities aren’t hard to find, you just need to know where to look. Beaches, parks, museums, and science centers are the best places to start. Look at the chamber of commerce or visitor stations for coupons, sign up for Living Social or Groupon for wherever you are heading, and find out which local restaurants have kids eat free nights. If you go just before or after peak season, you’re guaranteed to save at least 30%!

Go Local

Staycations (having a vacation at home) can be fun too! You may think you’re familiar with your hometown, but have you ever tried to see it as a tourist would? Ask your kids to help you create fieldtrips to the most celebrated or renowned places in town. Picnics in the park, arts and crafts on your back deck, forts in the living room, and outings around town will turn your vacation in into a vacation win. They key to a truly great vacation isn’t just going somewhere exotic or by the ocean, it’s filling your days with carefree laughter and new adventures.

Budgets may shift your perspective landscape when choosing a location for your family’s get away, but they shouldn’t cost you fun. Keep in mind that your vacation is about spending time together, making memories, and growing closer. All the world is your playground, but the best place to be is always with the ones you love. The location is just a detail.

Bonus Tip

Save money on souvenirs and daily spending by setting a limit for each kid per day. Show your trust and make it fun! Give them the money so they can make their own decisions on what to buy.

Hi, I'm Ayse! I am a mom of three wonderful children and originally began working as a librarian. Now, I love to write! I am an avid coupon finder, deal expert, and lover of anything that can save money without compromising on quality.