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Frugal Family Vacations

By: Cheryl Johnson

Everybody loves a nice, relaxing, vacation. The family vacation is a chance to focus on family and spend some quality time together. Unfortunately, the family vacation, more often than not, is a costly affair, especially when the family is on the large side.

Including a vacation in your plans can be a challenge on a tight budget. For those of you who want to get in that family quality time, yet don't have the finances for an extravagant vacation, here are some frugal family vacation tips. Since the goal here is to get the most fun for your money, let's talk about some frugal and low cost vacation ideas and tips that could be right for your family.

Camping
A great low cost option for families that enjoy the outdoors. Sleeping in a tent is not a must, as there are many state parks that rent cabins for a very reasonable fee. As an added bonus, when you are registered at a state park, you gain free entrance into all state parks.

Beach It
If you want to beach it, be sure to check out all your options for lodging. Sometimes a large family can do better by renting a condo or home for the week rather than staying at a hotel.

Remember, you can save a tremendous amount of money if you can prepare your own meals while on vacation. A good portion of a family's vacation budget can be spent on food Even a little kitchenette in a suite can save you dollars. If you are camping, you can almost always find a campground near popular beach areas and get maximum savings on lodging.

Low Cost Lodging
Don't forget your best resources, friends and family. Ask around to see if anyone has visited an area you plan to go. You may get lucky and manage to locate lodging that they wouldn't mind renting to you for a lesser fee. Sometimes people won't rent out their vacation spots for various reasons, but don't mind doing so if the tenant is a trusted acquaintance of a friend or family member.

Visit Friends and Family
Plan to visit friends and family that live far away, or even those that live nearby, that you rarely find the time to visit. In today's fast-paced society it is not unusual for family and friends to lose touch. You will save money and get to catch up on what's happening with friends and/or family that you haven't visited recently. This will be fun for everyone and also allow for the family to get together.

Whatever you decide to do, if you're travelling a great distance, be sure to check all your travel options. Make no assumptions, and compare prices of all the alternatives.
If all this just doesn't fall into your category of "fun", and you just have to have that exotic resort vacation, then at least be sensible about it. There are many great deals on vacation packages and off-season rentals.

This is one area where do-it-yourself isn't always the most practical advice. Travel agencies are privy to a lot of travel information, especially seasonal discounts. Do make calls to some agencies to find out more.

Before finalizing any plans, be sure to know your rights. What happens if you have to cancel? What is the deadline to cancel? Will you lose your deposit or is it refundable? Know your options.

Remember, the most important thing about family vacations is to spend quality time together. Have fun, and have a safe and happy frugal family vacation!

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