Friday, November 26, 2010

Ways to Afford a Family Vacation

During difficult and uncertain economic times parents face the terrible dilemma of providing the best possible childhood for their children while also facing economic reality. Sure, the trip to Disney World might look nice, but can the family really afford to pay to travel to Florida? And once in Orlando the cost of lodging, food and admission to the theme park can cost more than a mortgage payment.

Putting all of these expenses on a credit card can lead to financial ruin, and few families have the savings necessary to put the cost of a long vacation on a prepaid credit card. The problem then becomes how parents can provide children with entertaining and stimulating vacations without defaulting on other financial obligations. The answer is to avoid the tourist traps and not going during peak seasons.

Even though the kids do not get out of school until the summer, a long weekend in October might be a cost-effective alternative to the traditional and expensive regular vacation season. During off-season many hotels and resorts offer travel deals that simply are not available during spring break or summer vacation. While some parents might object to pulling the kids away from school for a couple of days, if part of the trip focuses on something educational such as a museum or a historic site, the educational value of the trip might outweigh any delayed coursework.

Taking the kids out of school might be one way to avoid the crowds and costs of theme parks during peak times. But some of the best places for a family vacation might be far away from a huge blacktop parking lot. Rather than pay for admission to a park, take the kids to a national park or a beach. Nature offers plenty of chances for entertainment and mental stimulation at a price that fits the budget of most families — 100 percent free.

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