Ideas for Cheap Family Vacations with Things for Kids to Do

Parents looking for cheap family vacations have their work cut out for them. As experienced travelers know the best deals are found during the off-season. College kids right down to those in lower school have the same holidays. Colleges, high schools and kindergartens all take breaks in the same weeks of the same months of each and every year making the task of planning an affordable family vacation a nightmare even if you have the budget to shoulder the expensive prices.

Resort owners in top rated travel destinations know they have a small window of opportunity to get the very best rates for all of the vacation real estate they offer as rentals. The same goes for all modes of transportation whether it be train, plane or bus. Individuals involved in the travel industry or realtors offering beach vacation rentals pay close attention to college vacations schedules because their very livelihoods depend on it.

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Please share your family vacation tips and pictures! Where did you stay? Did you have fun?



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You can just bet your all inclusive family vacation package that people who depend on tourism for their income know exactly how to play those precious few months when the college kids want to party on the beach and the vacation planners in families are looking for the best family vacation destinations where they can take the kids on educational tours to see historic attractions and natural wonders of the world.

This brings me to the opportunity to share my cheap family travel ideas and advice, which is to make this same system work for you when planning a family trip. Whether it’s a last minute getaway or an extended stay at a beach resort, schedules are important. To make my point while in danger of over-simplifying the planning process; spring break is not the time to hit the Florida beaches if you want the cheapest, discount prices.

Here are the times when you are the least likely to find cheap family vacation spots:

  • Spring Break
  • May, June or July
  • Christmas through New Year’s Day

I can almost see you shaking your head while thinking, "There is no such thing as an affordable family vacation spot that's uncrowded when the children will be out of school", Bear with me because I have a few general ideas on how to shave some of the expensive cost from a vacation without having to check the kids out of school early or rub elbows with more bikini babes on the beach than your wife will tolerate.

It’s practically become a tradition for the college kids to flock to the best beaches on spring break. They turn the public and private beaches into their personal nightclub or party zone both night and day and you know from the girls gone wild videos that even if the beaches don’t allow topless sunbathing (dancing or surfing or whatever) a fair amount of this wild behavior slips by the authorities. Unless you are a super liberal parent, you don’t want your kids’ vacation to include an education on how to be the best party animal on spring break. The answer to this problem is to have your planner come up with some cheap family vacations ideas that take you far away from the beach. During spring break, cruise the comparison shopping and travel bidding websites for inexpensive family vacation deals to areas around national parks. If your vacation must include bodies of water, look for lakes or rivers rather than tropical beaches where it’s warm enough to encourage clothing optional behavior.

The same rules for finding cheap family vacations in spring apply to the months of summer only we are getting a little closer to finding a tropical beach without wall to wall college students, parties and nightlife drowning out a chance of the kids playing in the sand in peace. Even the most dedicated beach bums tend to look for air conditioning after the July 4th holiday. Call it beach burn out or boredom with oceanfront resorts and activities, but the crowds seen in these destinations from March until June thin out some when the temperatures start to rise. This phenomenon leads to an opportunity for cheap, affordable family vacation deals for those who were smart enough to wait for discounts.

The secret is to pick one of the best family beaches that is known for cool, indoor tours, attractions and entertainment where you can take the kids during the hottest hours of the day. Enjoy water sports, hikes and other activities outdoors in the morning and early evening while taking in the museums and shows mid-day. That’s the trick to a worry free, cheap family vacation in the middle of summer.

Believe it or not autumn might be the best time to take a quick last minute getaway weekend escape with the wife and kids. Camping is one of the best, cheap family vacations of all and sleeping in a tent or vacation rental cabin in the mountains is so much more enjoyable when the temperatures are cooler. There may be fewer bugs, stories about haunted houses and ghosts around a campfire are much more scary around Halloween. If you include travel along scenic routes as an important part of your cheap family vacation planning ritual, travel to and from the destination can be an adventure in itself. Adults can enjoy an inexpensive leaf tour and the kids will be happy to just be on the open road one more time before they have to return to school.

Of course, all the standard rules for vacation planning apply such as comparison shopping and subscribing to newsletters. If you pay close attention to college breaks and take a contrarian attitude in your cheap family vacation planning you will avoid an inappropriate atmosphere for the kids and might get deep discount prices on vacation rentals and transportation!

After the fun is over and the suitcases have been unpacked, please take a moment to share any cheap vacation ideas and recommendations that you have with our visitors using the form on this page that has been provided for your convenience.

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