Looking for something fun and inexpensive to do as a family before school starts again? A quick getaway can be an affordable way to bond and say farewell to summer before the regular school day grind begins. Many people delay vacations because they can be pricey, but here are a few suggestions for a quick, relaxing holiday that won’t break the bank.

If you’ve never tried airbnb, this can be a fantastic way to enjoy a new location for much less than a typical hotel. Our family rented a large 5 bedroom house in a great neighborhood in Savannah this summer for $540 for 3 nights. Split among 4 adults, this was very affordable and we were able to have privacy and plenty of room to move about. We ate most meals in and our entire vacation for 6 people was under $1000 including the gas for a 1600 mile round trip!

We used groupon for some fun activities, found coupons in travel guides we picked up at rest areas on our route and had an incredible vacation despite being extremely frugal. Split a large home and travel with 2 families and you can have an awesome short vacation for a great price. Chances are your airbnb host will have some great suggestions that are less touristy. This not only saves money, it gives you a real feel for the local area and its people.

If you enjoy the outdoors and are a member of the military, you can get a free “America the Beautiful” pass and gain free admission for yourself and your dependents for the national parks all over the country. This gives you free admission and no charge standard amenity fees. Most parks also have reasonably priced campgrounds. There are over 2,000 national parks in the US. You’ll find more information and how to get passes here: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

Looking for a nice hotel at a great price? Are you willing to take a bit of a gamble? If so, a last minute booking on Hotwire may be right for you. Search for a hotel in your destination of choice, put in the type of room you need and it will give you a list of results with general location, star rating of the hotel and user reviews.

Very nice hotels list their leftover suites on this service for 40 to 60% off. They’d rather take a reduced rate than have empty rooms. Book on weekdays and you can get a top-notch room for the price of a standard cheap motel room. The downside is, the exact hotel name is not revealed until you book and pay.

For example, I searched for a room for 1 adult and 2 children in Portland Oregon for tonight. (Sunday night). A fancy 4.5 star downtown boutique hotel with fantastic reviews has a room available for $95 that normally sells for $297. Chances are this is going to be an amazing place, but you don’t know until you’re locked in. If you’re willing to be a bit adventurous, Hotwire can save you a lot of money on accommodations and even rental cars.

Overnight travel still not in your budget? That doesn’t mean you should miss out on summer fun. It’s amazing what we tend to miss right in our own backyard. Groupon can be a fantastic way to explore new businesses and have a great experience close to home. Take an art class, try a new restaurant or visit an escape room. I’ve seen listings for history tours, ziplining, wine tastings, ax throwing and more.

A bit of research will ensure your family can do something fun and new to relax and unwind before school starts again, whether it’s a quick vacation or a “staycation”. Take a day, or a few, and explore. Most people truly enjoy experiences more than products, so whenever possible give yourself and your family the gift of adventure.


About Christin Sander

Christin is a simple living, frugal, DIY enthusiast who loves showing others how to live their best by embracing simplicity. She works full time as a freelance writer and artist.

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