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Budget Vacations in Iffy Economic Times


by Angela Heidt

Given current economic conditions, many families are choosing to forgo annual vacations in favor of saving in case of emergency. While such frugality is admirable, for some of us a vacation is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity. We often lose sight that vacations provide essential benefits. Getting away from it all for even a few days can help us release stress and can bring us closer to the rest of the family.

When money is tight a family vacation is usually the first thing to get cut from the list. This doesn't necessarily need to be the case. With some careful planning and searching you and your family can enjoy a great vacation without blowing your rainy-day fund.

The following will help you find some good deals on budget vacations for yourself, you and your spouse or your entire family:

Go Last Minute
If your family has the flexibility to drop what you are doing for a good vacation deal then you can certainly save a lot of money. Airlines and hotels would rather have their seats filled for half price or less than have them go empty. On most travel websites you will find a last minute deals section, and you can even sign up for weekly e-mails so you can stay on top of the deals when they come up.

Stay Local
To encourage commerce and keep their businesses running many hotels and bed and breakfasts offer great deals to local residents. Get to know your town or state by taking advantage of these deals and become a tourist in your own area.

Ask Friends and Family
Odds are that someone you know has or knows someone who has a cabin, timeshare or other vacation property that you can rent for cheap. Usually for a nominal maintenance fee or at least for well below rental rate they will be happy to let it out to you.

House Exchange
There are tons of websites out there that are designed to help families meet others who want to experience the culture and landscape of another country, state or city. Whether you are searching for a flat in London, a walk-up in Australia or a townhouse in a neighboring city you should be able to get a host of options at your fingertips. As long as you are comfortable with someone staying in your home you can save thousands over a hotel room or suite.

Get Outdoorsy
Camping can be an extremely economical and fun for just about any family. With a few sleeping bags and a tent you and your family can have an adventure out in nature and learn something about your local flora and fauna. Combined with hiking, fishing or some other activity you can all have a great time for the fraction of the price of a tropical holiday.

Hopefully these pointers will help you find a way to squeeze in a break or two with your family so you can all enjoy some rest and relaxation.

Editor's note: For some tips on local outings, see Stephany Wiestling's articles on MomTalk.com.

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New FeatureRelated Articles: 7 Money-Saving Vacation Ideas for Budget Travelers, The Best Web Sites for Planning Your Summer Road Trip,

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