6 family vacations under $1,000
Traditional vacations are expensive -- gas and airfare are high, and hotspots like Disney World are raising prices. Here's how to save and still have a memorable getaway.
This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.
If you're in that group, don't worry: Affordable options abound. In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson comes up with five vacation ideas for under $1,000. Check it out, then read on for details and more ideas.
As Stacy says in the video above, one of the best ways to save on vacations -- or anything else -- is to substitute imagination for money. Now for some details:
The most expensive part of camping is the gear. First, check with friends and family to see what they'll loan it to you. You might also try for free gear at sites like Freecycle. If that doesn't pan out, try buying cheap at local thrift stores, yard sales, used sporting good stores like Play It Again Sports, and online at sites Craigslist and eBay. You can also rent camping gear: REI is one national bricks-and-mortar chain that offers rentals. You can also find online sources: Just do a search for "rent camping gear."
The best part? Many are free to get in year-round. (There are fees for reservations, concessions, and that sort of thing.) Only about a quarter of national parks charge entrance fees and even those are free on certain days: June 21 and Sept. 24 are the next free days.
- HomeExchange.com lets you view listings for free, but posting your own or contacting owners means a $10-a-month membership fee.
- Craigslist has a free house swap section, but when I checked it out, it seemed that more people were looking to rent than swap.
- Digsville.com is $45 a year but will give another year free if you don't get a swap.
- HomeLink.org charges $119 a year.
Vacation homes. Have friends or family with a time share or vacation home? Try to rent it cheap. Also, there are websites that can hook you up with people looking to rent out a house, a room, or even just a couch in a desirable destination. Sites to scope out include HomeAway.com, iStopOver.com, VRBO.com, CouchSurfing.org, and TripAdvisor. There are plenty more.
Local gardens, museums and other cultural spots often partner to offer discounted rates for people who want to visit more than one attraction, and many have lower rates for residents. If not, grab a coupon book from a tourist center to make sure you get the savings visitors do. Also check with your local chamber of commerce.
While staying local may sound boring, think of the advantages. Few hotel rooms offer the amenities your house does, and you're never far from home if you forget something. The key to the successful staycation is to treat it like a vacation: no work, no chores, no phone, no computer.
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