Cheap Trip Ideas

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If you’re worried that rising costs may have priced you out of the vacation market, you need to take a second look at all the affordable vacation fun that’s within your reach. Many attractions in your own backyard provide memorable experiences for the whole family and don’t cost an arm and a leg. If you’re willing to do a little advance planning and a thorough search for affordable vacation options, you should be able to come up with plenty of ideas for vacation excursions that offer plenty of enjoyment but have low price tags.



Camping is often less expensive than staying in a hotel.

Camping is often less expensive than staying in a hotel.

Camping is often less expensive than a traditional vacation because campsites are cheaper than hotel rooms. Since you cook most of your food at the campground, you also save on the cost of eating out. Many campgrounds, including KOA, now have activities for kids, such as arts and crafts, games or storytelling. You can even rent a cabin or motor home from some campgrounds, if you don’t have access to camping equipment.

Road Trips

Road trips are another idea for a cheap trip. Check your local bookstore for books about unusual places in and around your home state and plan a trip that covers a stop by some of the more interesting ones. Stay in a hotel with rooms shaped like teepees, visit the world’s largest ketchup bottle, tour a house made of trash or visit any of the other unique and unusual offerings in your area.

National Parks and Recreation Areas

Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a longer vacation, a national park or recreation area is probably located within easy driving distance of your home. Those without a lot of time for a trip will probably prefer staying closer to home, while others may enjoy traveling to another state. National parks and recreation areas offer hiking, camping, swimming, fishing and other activities suitable for the whole family. Some parks and recreation areas even run special programs for kids, including ranger programs, where kids learn more about the native plants and wildlife in the area. The National Park Service offers annual passes that provide sharply discounted admission prices to all of the parks, monuments and recreation areas in the NPS system.

Day Trips

If you’re really short on time, take a day trip to an area less than three hours from your home, giving you time to visit and return home in the span of a single day. Pick a location that you never had time to visit before or one you haven’t seen in a while. Look for visitor or welcome centers in your area that offer free brochures about local attractions. Consider antique shopping with your spouse or even visiting nearby flea markets.


Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master’s degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.


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