This year you may want to go on vacation but think that you can not afford too. If you have a large family then the cost of vacationing can easily get out of hand. Here a few tips too having a low cost family vacation.

Travel By Car

Even with the cost of gas traveling by car is cheaper for larger families then too fly. A car will enable you to carry all of the items you need for a cheap vacation such as a large tent, cooler stocked with food, and recreational items such as balls.

Family VacationCoolers

A large cooler filled with ice and food items from a grocery store will cut the cost of your trip down drastically. If you have a family of 6 and eat out 3 times a day your food costs will be huge. If you take the cheaper route and buy sandwich items, cheese, hot dogs, and other foods your family likes to eat you will save a lot of money over eating out daily.

Tents and Camping

In the Western United States there are many areas where you can camp for free. During summer months even the KOA campgrounds can be expensive. If you research out your trip in advance and talk to the locals you can find many free or extremely low cost campgrounds. Camping out is a lot cheaper then staying at a motel each night.

Your kids will have a trip of a life time and will always remember the funny moment s that happen. Funny moments always happen when camping out. Maybe dad is struggling to assemble the cabin tent and falls down or something and the kids can laugh for hours about such trivial stuff.

Camping is a great way for a family to bond together. There is nothing like sitting around a camp fire roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories.

There will be times you may be forced to stay in a motel if you can not find a campground of if the weather turns bad but for the most part you will save a lot of money of you camp out most nights. Occasionally you may want to stay at the KOA campgrounds so you can get a shower in.

Tourist Traps and Trinket Shops

There will be the many tourist traps you will come across and if you buy each kid a souvenir the trips can be expensive. Instead try to stay away from the tourist traps with the gimmicky trinkets and see nature as a whole.


Use Google before you leave and ,map out cool hotspots and destinations. There are always neat things to see and if map out some before you leave you can gather a huge list of free things to see along your way.

You can also use Google to print out trivia about the areas you will be passing through and you can share trivia with your kids as you drive through the areas.

The family action should never be about the destination. The journey is the trip. Enjoy yourself and do not put yourself on a tight time schedule. You never know when you will run across something cool and off the beaten path. If you stumble across some natural hot springs with a rope swing you could easily spend all day with your kids having the time of your life and the cost could be free.


If each member of your family has either a digital camera or disposable film camera you can encourage them to take pictures of stuff they see. When you get home you will have multiple pictures from various age groups to document your family adventure. There is nothing like the eyes of a 5 year old. The items and photos that a 5 year old photographs may include a lot of poor quality pictures but there will be enough gems that it will be worth it. Expect the 5 year old with the camera to capture the funniest picture of the trip.

Post Cards

Postcards with postage are cheap. Encourage your kids to send a daily postcard to a loved one such as Grandma and Grandpa back home. This will help your kids with there writing and grammar but will also help them share there trip with loved ones back home while they are gone.

Out Door Activities

Swimming in the lake or hiking the trails are free and healthy activities. Outdoor activities such as swimming and hiking are inexpensive and can open up a whole new world too your young children. When you let your kids go swimming in the lake make sure you and the other parent join in. It is always funner for children and the adults when everyone is swimming together.


Encourage your children to keep a diary of there family vacation. They can document what they saw, what they thought was fun. What they thought was stupid, and anything else them may want to document. The diaries are a cheap way to keep the kids occupied for some of the time in the car. The kids will grow to cherish there travel diary as they get older.


Kids have to drink stuff other than water. If you buy each kid a soda at the gas station the costs of soda will add up rapidly. Kool-Aid is a cheap way to flavor up the water and all kids love Kool-Aid. You can fill up some old 2 liter bottles with Kool-Aid and keep them in the large cooler you carry so cold Kool-Aid is always available to drink. If you want the kids to watch there sugar intake you can either add less Kool-Aid or even better use the sugar free Kool-Aid. As long as the kids never see the sugar free label on the sugar free Kool-Aid they will never know that it is not he regular Kool-Aid.

Traveling with your family this summer can be better than a Mediterranean cruise as long as you try and make sure that each member of your child has fun. Traveling with your family can be expensive but you can easily cut the cost of the trip down by following some of the suggestions above. A cheap family vacation does not mean that it will not be a vacation that will be remembered and cherished by each member of your family for the rest of there lives. Image Credit: (AJT)