Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ideas for Family Vacations on a Budget

Are you having a difficult time deciding where to go for your family vacations on a budget?  Here are a few places that we have enjoyed on our family vacations.

1.) Branson, MO

2.) Gatlinburg, TN

3.) Chattanooga, TN

4.) Estes Park, CO

Monday, March 26, 2012

Try for Family Vacations on a Budget is currently offering $25 gift certificates for $2 when you use code BLOOM at checkout.  If you know where you are going on your next family vacations on a budget, you could save some cash on meals by purchasing several gift certificates to use on your trip.  The code is valid through 3/31.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ideas for Making Family Vacations on a Budget Possible

Vacations are a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your family.  However, any type of trip seems to take quite a bit of money.  If your family doesn't have a lot of extra money, this can be a major source of stress during your family vacation.  If this is this case, try these tips when planning your family vacations on a budget.

1) Select a location that is within a couple hours of driving from your home.
2) Take snacks and meal items with you for the drive.
3) Be creative in your selection of a place to stay and meals.
4) Pick one or two activities that your family really wants to do that you will have to pay for and then try to find a few free things to do.
5) Limit the length of your vacation to 2 or 3 nights.
6) Spend a little time relaxing at your hotel or wherever you decide to stay.

Remember, the most important part of family vacations on a budget is enjoying your family.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Destination for Family Vacations on a Budget

Looking for somewhere different to go for your next family vacation on a budget?  Try Branson, MO.  Branson is a wonderful place with a lot of things to do.  It is similar to Gatlinburg, TN.  So, if you enjoyed Gatlinburg, then Branson may be a good choice for you.  Branson has a lot of options for lodging.  For ideas on how to save, check out my post on lodging and meals

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

What is Important for Family Vacations on a Budget

Each family has their own desires when planning family vacations on a budget.  What is important to your family when taking a vacation?  We have several things that are important to our family when taking family vacations on a budget.  We are particular when determining where we will stay.  Regardless of the destination, we like to stay somewhere that is a home away from home.  Therefore, we try to find a cabin or condo with a full kitchen and plenty of beds and bathrooms.  My husband really wants to have some relaxation time on vacation as well as several activities.  We make sure we are happy with the lodging before making any other plans.  We also like to see the area's attractions.  We still have not taken a beach vacation and I'm sure when we do, we will spend quite a bit of time doing other things in addition to a little time in the sun.  In order to plan the ideal family vacations on a budget for your family, you need to decide what is most important to your family, such as lodging, activities, or relaxing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Family Vacations on a Budget - Daily Deal Sites

The other day while in the drive-thru at McDonalds, I noticed a sign regarding livingsocial deals.  I had not heard of that before, so I did a quick search online.  livingsocial is another daily deal site with great deals for various products or services.  Some of the deals available are for vacation packages.  The savings on these packages are significant.  This seems like a good idea for planning family vacations on a budget.  I have not personally used this site yet but have used a couple of the other daily deals sites.  Browsing the daily deal sites may help you decide where to go for your family vacations on a budget and hopefully get a great deal.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quick Tip for Family Vacations on a Budget

If there is a hotel brand that you prefer to stay at when traveling, check to see if the hotel offers a reward program where you can earn points for each stay.  Sometimes the points can be redeemed for FREE nights which could be a big help for family vacations on a budget. The program that we joined offers points for each stay.  Once you have earned enough points, you can redeem for a free night.  However, there is also an option to purchase extra points if you do not have enough to redeem a free night.  Family vacations on a budget are possible with a little extra planning.

Why Bother to Take Family Vacations on a Budget

With all of the expenses of having a family, the idea of even attempting to take a family vacation can be overwhelming or completely disheartening.  When my husband and I got married, we both wanted to take annual vacations.  So far, I think we have only missed one year.  However, the cost is very important to us when deciding where to go for our family vacations on a budget.  Our budget for vacations is usually about $1,500 to $2,000.  That still may be a lot for many families and often we could use that money for other things.  However, I want to share what I believe is important for families trying to spend time together.  We have found that our family vacations on a budget are a special time with just the four of us.  We have an opportunity to enjoy each other without the distraction of the chores to be done at home and worries of work.  We enjoy doing activities together on our trips while making wonderful memories for all of us.  It is a perfect time to focus on loving each member of your family.  And, if you drive, plenty of time to talk! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quick Tip for Family Vacations on a Budget

In the early planning stages of your family vacations on a budget, a good way to save money is to determine when the off season and peak seasons are for your destination area.  Many lodging options offer discounted rates during the off season.  In addition to saving on lodging costs, there will not be as many people vacationing in that area as during the peak season which may result in more enjoyable family vacations on a budget.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chattanooga, TN - Family Vacations on a Budget

As I mentioned earlier, I am going to put together a few posts on ideas for places to visit for family vacations on a budget.  Regardless of the location you choose for your family vacations on a budget, keep in mind the suggestions I posted earlier for making almost any vacation a little cheaper.  Last year, we took a short trip to Chattanooga, TN.  We found plenty of fun activities that our whole family enjoyed.  In order to save a little money, we only picked a few activities, but there were several others that we would like to do and maybe will some day on other family vacations on a budget.  For a good place to start for planning your vacation to Chattanooga, TN, check out .  Some of the attractions we visited were the Tennessee Aquarium, Imax 3D Theater, Creative Discovery Museum, and the Incline Railway.  Remember, when purchasing tickets, it is cheaper to purchase a bundle instead of each ticket individually.  While we were there, we found a coupon booklet at our hotel that offered discounts for restaurants.  Also take a look at  There are several restaurants in Chattanooga on this site where you can purchase gift certificates for less than face value.  Do not forget to purchase from when they are running a sale to save even more. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Each year when we start discussing where to go for family vacations on a budget, we struggle deciding which location to choose.  We always search the web for ideas, but still have a difficult time coming up with a new location.  We also discuss ideas with family and friends and Facebook friends, and still have difficulty.  So, over the next couple weeks, I am going to put together posts on various locations where I believe you could plan fun family vacations on a budget.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Family Vacations on a Budget - Major Areas to Save - Part 4

Finally, to Part 4 of Major Areas to Save for family vacations on a budget.  The final area that I wanted to discuss is what will you actually "do" on your vacation.  Some families prefer to relax while others stay busy seeing the sites.  We try to do a little of both on most of our vacations.  So, if you are a family who likes to relax, you will probably be able to take cheaper family vacations on a budget than those who like to see everything they can see.  Here are a few ideas for those families who want to save on their vacation activities.

  • Check the websites of places you plan to visit before you leave home to see if there are any coupons available.
  • Keep your eyes open for coupons in newspapers, on soda cans, etc.  In our area, there are often coupons for Six Flags in St. Louis on soda cans.
  • Some attractions offer a discount if you purchase tickets to several places at the same time.  When we travel to Gatlinburg, TN, there are discounts available if you purchase tickets for several of the Ripley attractions in one purchase.
  • Timeshares - Timeshares not only offer discounts on lodging, but also on attraction tickets.  We are planning a trip to Orlando, FL in May.  We are going to stay at a timeshare resort where we are receiving a good price on lodging, tickets to Disney World and Sea World.  
Check back often for more ideas for taking family vacations on a budget!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Family Vacations on a Budget - Major Areas to Save - Part 3

Another major area where you may be able to save money for family vacations on a budget is travel expenses.  Travel expenses are costs such as airline tickets and gas.  For savings on airline tickets, it is important to check the price of flights from different airlines.  You may find cheaper tickets just by flying with a different airline.  Another option is to book your flight through travel websites, such as or  An idea to save money on gas is to purchase gas from stations who may offer discounts.  For instance, Kroger customers with a Kroger Plus card can get cents off gas by scanning their Kroger card.  Another option is to purchase your gas with a credit card that offers cash back on gas purchases.  We have a credit card that offers 5% cash back on gas purchases at different times during the year.  While that isn't a big savings, it will help a little.  Keep in mind, however, that if you do not pay off the balance of the credit card each month, you will not be saving any money.  Family vacations on a budget are possible with a little creative savings thinking.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Family Vacations on a Budget - Areas to Save - Part 2

As I mentioned earlier, one of the major areas where you can save money during family vacations on a budget are meals.  Typically, when we go on vacation, we eat most of our lunches and dinners at restaurants.  However, we either bring breakfast items with us or stop at a grocery store when we arrive to purchase our breakfast items.  If we are not going to be staying in a cabin or condo, we try to find a hotel with a free breakfast.  So, breakfast is an easy meal to save money for us.  Plus, we save a little time by having a quick breakfast.  Another way to save on meals, when taking family vacations on a budget, is to eat lunch at sit down restaurants rather than eating dinner there.  Those types of restaurants should have a special lunch menu with cheaper prices.  Other ideas include checking restaurant websites and Facebook pages for coupons and using  While driving through the city you are visiting, look for specials posted on the restaurant signs.  We have eaten at several restaurants while on vacation based on the specials listed on their signs.  It does take a little effort, but it is possible to save on meals while taking family vacations on a budget.

Family Vacations on a Budget - Areas to Save - Part 1

On any vacation, lodging is a large part of the total cost of the vacation.  When you are trying to take family vacations on a budget, there are several avenues you can pursue to reduce the cost of your lodging.  Here are a few ideas.
  • Camping
  • Timeshare
  • Book cabin rentals when specials are available, such as stay four nights get one free
  • Travel with another family to split the cost of a vacation home or cabin rental
Although the above lodging ideas may not be exactly what you would prefer to do on your vacation, these are a few ideas to cut expenses if that is important to you.  For families who need to take family vacations on a budget, as we often do, these suggestions are great tips to research in order to save money.