Vacations are necessary. Numerous studies show that people who take the time to get away from the daily grind are happier and healthier.
But besides the physical and mental benefits you experience on an individual level, there are unique benefits to families. Research confirms that family vacations contribute positively to a family’s bonding, communication and solidarity. In addition, one study showed that half of respondents chose family vacations as their happiest memory. What’s more, some of the respondents actually relied on these memories for relief during tough times.
That said, the cost of a family vacation can quickly escalate. Between flights, hotels, meals and activities, a vacation can start to feel more like a burden rather than an escape. It may not seem possible to give your kids the kind of vacation you (or they) want.
Luckily, a vacation doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. All it takes is a little reinvention and creativity. For vacation inspiration on a budget, consider the following ideas.
Vacations don’t have to take place in a resort. Camping can be a great way to get out of the house and bond together as a family. Plus, camping offers a number of health benefits, including better sleep, improved moods and more exercise. It’s also a great way to disconnect from screens and get back in touch with nature.
Concerned about a lack of activities for the kids? Modern campsites generally have pools, games and activities for all ages.
Be a Tourist in your Hometown
If you find that you just can’t swing more than one day here and there, consider being a tourist in your own town. Or a nearby town. We sometimes take for granted the area that we live in. Visit a museum. Go hiking. Take a drive in the country. You can even pack a lunch and visit a local park. The point is to enjoy your surroundings with a new perspective.
Book Last Minute
Have a flexible schedule? You might be able to snag a cheap flight or group package online. Planes, cruises and tour companies often need to fill seats so they’ll drop prices as it gets closer to the check-in date. If you’re willing to be spontaneous, you might be able to get your family their dream vacation after all.
House swaps are an affordable means to save on accommodations. If you are up for it and ready to share your home, there are sites and services available that help you find like-minded people. Consider swapping with a family who lives in a state you’ve never been to. By making it a road trip, you’ll save even more.
Keep in mind that half the fun of a vacation actually occurs before you go. Simply planning and anticipating a trip can make you happy. Incorporate everyone in the research to maximize your time while boosting your family’s happiness. Make lists of ideas and talk about it together. You’ll be reconnecting as a family all before you even pack your bags.
For inspiration on budget-friendly family activities, see 4 Affordable Family Activities Kids Will Still Love.