Historically, we have almost pre-conditioned ourselves to dread the “family vacation.” Whether you envision a National Lampoon movie with Chevy Chase, tired parents at an amusement park with sticky children, or simply empty pocketbooks when you get home, I am quite happy to tell you: You don’t have to worry anymore. There are many ways to enjoy low cost weekend breaks that keeps you focused on fun and relaxation with your family, and brings you home with great memories.
The Last Minute Trip
Sometimes you have a moment where everyone is healthy and no one has plans for the weekend. Capture this miracle moment by taking advantage of last minute savings on a mini-break. Many travel websites have sections devoted specifically to “last minute” travel. You can also look on craigslist for vacation homes that may have had a cancellation or even call your favorite hotel directly. Many hotels would rather offer a discount than suffer an empty room.
The Bundle Package
Many resorts and amusement parks offer bundle packages. If you purchase tickets to the venue, in conjunction with their preferred hotel and travel vendors, you can get an excellent bargain. While this may limit some of your options, in many cases it can take the stress out of planning the trip as well. Preferred vendors generally have to meet certain quality standards, but you often have a variety of choices ranging from budget to luxury stays.
Resorts aren’t the only ones capitalizing on the bundle. Airlines and other travel merchants are bundling their services to increase their profit margins and customer loyalty. If you have a relationship with a travel rewards company, possibly even through your insurance or a credit card, it’s worth exploring your benefits.
Unfortunately, no matter how much we would like to, sometimes we just can’t leave the city. The (potentially) least expensive weekend break is the “staycation.” Many people live their entire lives never being a tourist in their own town because they don’t want to feel foolish. Camp out in a local state park or in your own backyard. Look at the entertainment section of your newspaper. Let your kids be a tour guide and recreate some of their favorite field trips. You still have to watch your budget, even if you’re staying local. You can always ask a local hotel or venue if they have discounts for locals. The worst thing they can say is “no.”
A weekend break with your family can be an enjoyable experience that doesn’t break the bank and leaves you relaxed for the coming week. Try to break out of what you think a family vacation is, and make it the experience you dream about.