Summer is finally here! Schools are out across the country, pools are open and everyone is in flip-flops again for the next couple of months. Naturally, many have already mapped out a trip for the season. We weren’t as certain one would work, but now have a strong urge to get something on the calendar.

We are working with a tight budget, so we plan to use these tips we learned to score budget family vacations:

Pick an inexpensive place

This sounds more difficult than it actually is. It is amazing how many budget family vacation spots there are across the US. Some of the most popular family vacations are very budget-friendly. The main things to consider when picking an inexpensive place is distance and activities. If your destination is close enough, you can save hundreds by driving rather than flying. Mountains and beaches also come with built-in enjoyment for the whole family, so no additional entertainment expenses are necessary! Another popular spot with loads of FREE family activities is Washington DC. Another bonus for DC is you can work in some history lessons along the way.

Not sure where to go? Try this list from US News or this one from Budget Travel. Both have great options for summer budget family vacations.

Add some flexibility

If you have any chance for wiggle room on dates, you are far more likely to get a good rate. Most family vacation destinations have peak seasons and working around those can save you a fortune on the entire trip. Another place for flexibility are dates for the trip. Check in with hotels or VRBO rentals and inquire about dates that are still available. These places ALWAYS prefer to be booked and may be willing to negotiate on price if you can negotiate on the dates.

Finally, choosing rentals and hotels outside of the main city and/or beaches can make a trip far more frugal. Sometimes this is the best fit for a family. It provides extra opportunities for bonding by removing all the over-stimulation found in these spots!

Shop all options and ask around

One of our biggest money saving tricks for budget family vacations is to ask around. We’ve consistently been amazed by our friends referrals and suggestions. People love to share their best saving tips and deals they’ve found, which saves us money too. Every once in awhile we’ve found a family cabin or lakehouse for free!

There are loads of deals online and coupons are a lifesaver for family trips. Just be sure to compare all rates and packages and even ask if a hotel might be willing to price match.

Have big plans that are also fit in with our budget family vacation ideas? Share them! We’d love to have more options to consider this summer. Let us know on Facebook where you are headed and how you scored a great deal!