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Family travel: Use your imagination and save some money

You don't have to break the bank for

You don't have to break the bank for a family vacation. Even a short road trip to a nearby attraction can make for a memorable experience. Photo Credit: Getty Images/kali9

A family vacation doesn’t have to include fancy flights to far-off places or ritzy resorts to reap meaningful rewards. Clear the calendar and consider these five ideas that won’t break the bank.

1. Go for it. Plan to participate in a half marathon, hike the canyon, or camp in the backcountry. This is the year to research, plan and execute that big idea you’ve been talking about but never had time to organize. Declare it a family affair and make the training and preparations part of the fun.

2. Trade houses. Find a friend or family member in a nearby neighborhood who is willing to join in the fun: new toys in closet, bikes in the garage, play sets in the backyard and snacks in the cupboard. Trade information about local walking paths, parks, museums, restaurants and movie theaters. Then enjoy the new view.

3. Commit to a weekend “away.” Part of the holiday mindset includes saying no to checking work email, sending text messages or posting on Instagram. Agree to make family the focus for one whole weekend. Visit a new restaurant, go to a ballgame, take a long bike ride or play board games at home. If duty calls, let folks know your family is on vacation.

4. Focus on free. Museums, festivals, lectures, parks, concerts and libraries are all sources of family fun where the admission is often gratis. Check local websites and create your no-cost itinerary for the length of your “vacation.” Organizations like Free Tours by Foot offer guided tours in cities across the country at no charge. 

INFO freetoursbyfoot.com

5. Book last minute and local. Check travel websites for last-minute deals in your hometown or in a nearby city. Without air and significant gas charges, taking advantage of these down-to-the-wire deals can be worth the minimum expense. You’ll enjoy the travel treat, knowing you’ve kept expenses in check.

INFO lastminute.com; travelzoo.com, airfarewatchdog.com

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