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There are a lot of details to consider when planning a family vacation, including how much everything is going to cost. You have to factor in a place to stay, transportation, parking, food, and entertainment. And that doesn’t even count souvenirs or other extras that pop up. So how do you plan inexpensive family vacations that are still fun for everyone? Use the tips below to save big on your next trip! 

Tips for Inexpensive Family Vacations

There are a few key areas to focus on when looking for ways to save on family vacations. Choosing inexpensive family vacation spots, preparing your own food, and exploring alternate transportation options will help you get the most fun for your money.


Where you decide to go on a family vacation is the factor that potentially impacts your budget the most. Fortunately, there are plenty of great inexpensive family vacation spots within a short distance from where you live, which helps with travel costs. 

You can also find attractions that are free or low-cost if you know where to look. Find out if you can get a free National Parks pass, bundle deal, or family discount to your favorite spots, and check out some of our favorites below to see if there is one near you.

  • Atlanta, GA – Stay near Centennial Park for easy access to the Georgia Aquarium, which is the largest marine life center in the US. You can also check out the World of Coca Cola Museum, which offers free samples in every imaginable flavors.
  • Hot Springs, SD – Explore the Black Hills and iconic Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial. Plus, visit Buffalo Gap National Grassland to look for fossils and get a close-up view of a real fossil excavation at The Mammoth Site.
  • Houston, TXWith a Houston CityPASS, you can get into the Space Center Houston, Children’s Museum Houston, and Kemah amusement park on the boardwalk.
  • Midway, UtahMinutes from Park City, home of the Sundance Film Festival, this beautiful Nordic town offers skiing, hiking, scuba diving and swimming in a natural hot spring, and castles made entirely of ice. You can also ride the train in historic Heber City.
  • San Diego, CABeautiful weather, free beaches, Balboa Park and Zoo, and several other iconic attractions can be found here. Look for passes that combine fees to save on excursions.
  • Stowe, VTThis relaxing mountain getaway has plenty of fun family activities like hiking and biking, and is surrounded by natural beauty. Don’t forget to bring home some authentic Vermont maple syrup.
  • Williamsburg, VARide the roller coasters at Busch Gardens, head back in time to the Jamestown settlement, and even catch a historic reenactment in Colonial Williamsburg.


There are several easy ways to save money on food during your family vacation. For starters, look for hotels that offer breakfast included in the cost of your stay. Many times, these rooms are still similar in price to other hotel rooms that don’t offer this service. 

You can also pack your own snacks to bring with you during your daily activities, or visit a nearby grocery store when you arrive. Depending on the amenities provided in your hotel room, you may even be able to cook your meals rather than eating out. If you do not have a full kitchen, you can still prepare simple meals like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips and cookies. Most hotel rooms at least have a small refrigerator, so you can also keep milk cold for cereal, cream cheese for bagels, or cheese and deli meat for other types of sandwiches. 


The cost of airplane tickets can add up quickly, especially if you have a large family. Fortunately, the best family vacations on a budget are within driving distance! The cost of gas, and even a car rental (if you need more space), could be significantly lower than the cost of flying.

You’ll also need to have a plan in place for where you will park, including the price of parking. Find out if your hotel charges a parking fee and whether they have shuttle services to nearby attractions. For example, if you are visiting a theme park, are there alternate transportation options so you don’t have to park onsite? You may also be able to find a great deal on a bus tour of the area that picks you up at or near your hotel and brings you back when the tour ends.

Stick to Your Budget

Few things are a more valuable investment than family vacations, but you should never go into debt to pay for travel. CreditAnswers can help you get out of debt quickly and manage your finances so you can comfortably afford the best family vacations on a budget.

Learn more about how CreditAnswers can help you with your current debt by getting a free debt assessment today.


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