My favorite "frugal vacation" tips are probably not new to anyone, but it only occurred to me and my family a couple of years ago.
Here are my favorites:
1. Take a weekend not a week long trip
2. If you have a whole week or more, and need to fly,travel during the week - the rates are cheaper.
3. Vacation in your home town- if you have the money get a hotel close to home- this seems silly, but as women we feel the need to cook and clean if we are in our home. If a hotel is out of the budget, then have a talk with your family and agree to share the chores if you stay home. Explain to your DH that if you have to cook and clean, then you will not be on a true vacation. Cook as little as possible and use paper plates so clean up is minimal. Let the laundry wait and enjoy the local sites. If you stay at a hotel, be sure to get a room with a refrigerator and microwave. Have the free hotel breakfast, for lunch and snacks have sandwiches, instant meals like Ramen or oatmeal , cookies and fruit cups (that you pack supplies for )and for dinner- eat out. In a pinch you can usually get a few disposable bowls, cups and cutlery from the hotel breakfast bar. Save dinner leftovers to have for lunch the next day. If you have dog or cat you can leave them home and just check in with them.
4. If you own one or can borrow one use a RV! Try camping locally either in an RV, tent or campground. Check out KOA .
5. Stay with family if you can. If you do, be sure to plan at least one day to be at their disposal. Don't expect them to cook and clean for you. make sure to respect their schedules- they may have to work while you are there, so don't rely on them to entertain you. Discuss your plans with them so they know ahead that they are "off the hook."
6. If you are brave enough then try a home exchange.
7. Use time share programs- Google "time shares" for more info .
Enjoy your vacation- I am off to a hotel this weekend, Only about 3 miles from my home. Our family has planned a weekend of Library time, A free kid's class at Home Depot, A trip to the beach, a shopping spree at the Dollar Store ($5 per kid :) , a ferry ride across the river($1 each) to get ice cream and play at the park. I don't have to cook or clean and the weather is lovely so we will leave our dog outside all weekend and just check in once a day for food refills (we have a self watering dish).
Have a Happy 4th of July!