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Travel is an indisputable good. Yes, we hear the occasional horror story about what can happen on vacation and we know travel can be expensive. However, you don’t have to take your children all around the world to help them benefit from the perspective that a different location and atmosphere can provide. Here, we’re going to look at some of the more affordable ways closer to home you can start a tradition of vacation-going amongst the family.
Spot a bargain
Keep your plans open and be willing to accept the best deal you can find. Nowadays, sites like this one make it a lot easier to stay up-to-date on some of the best budget travel experiences on offer. Flights can be expensive and stressful, often to the point that many families rarely take them. However, introducing your children to other cultures and ways of life earlier is going to help them grow up with real perspective outside of their own life. There are several budget-friendly European holidays that can take you into the heart of some of the best sights on the continent.
Hit the road
If you prefer to keep your feet (or wheels) firmly on the ground, then there are likely plenty of places just as interesting within driving distance. The road trip is a tried-and-true tradition by this point, and one well-worth keeping up. Just make sure you’re fully prepared for the road. Not just in terms of knowing where you’re going and with stops to take. You have to be aware of the real risks of boredom ruining the trip, especially for the kids. Bringing some entertainment, thinking up road games, and taking regular breaks from driving is essential if you don’t want the monotony of a road trip to be its lasting impression.
Explore what’s around
If you live near any parks, woodlands, or other wild places, then let your kids get to know them. Take them on their first camping trip. Many of us grow up with some knowledge of a nearby natural area of beauty. But by spending the time in it, it can become part of the child’s identity. When they think of where they come from, those camping trips can be some of the most defining experiences and help foster a real love and pride in where they grew up. Again, make sure you’re prepared before you do it for real. Have a test run in your backyard, for instance, and choose areas closer to the drive-in campsites if you don’t want them to feel like they’re “roughing it” too much.
If you’re lucky enough to have the kind of adventure holiday locations like those shown here near your home, then take advantage of them whatever you do. Many of these are in or close to the same wild areas you might camp in, so you can get twice the fun out of one location. Whether it’s hiking or cycling through the wilds or taking them on a cave-exploring expedition, it can give your kids a much more visceral experience of the wilds. Of course, they might be just as thrilled with some of less wild adventure holidays on offer such as a stay at a waterpark, too. A little adrenaline rush can be a great way to keep them busy for the duration of your stay so make use of it.
Take them up the slopes
If you live anywhere near the north of the country, then you’re also going to be within a road trip’s distance of some of the best skiing destinations in the whole country. Renting a place near a ski resort instead of staying in those luxury accommodations can make skiing trips much more affordable instead of the privileged-only vacations that many still mistakenly believe them to be. Just make sure you do your research on the area before you go there. Make sure that it’s family friendly with instructors and easy slopes for your first-time skiers. If they get bit by the bug and it becomes a regular family vacation, then you can start getting more adventurous in where you go.
Hit the waves
Perhaps a surfboard is more your style than a snowboard. Perhaps you simply live closer to some of the better coasts in the country. Again, be thorough in doing your research before you choose a destination and set off. Even on the same coasts, different areas can have different waves and being caught off-guard by the sea isn’t just unpleasant, it’s also dangerous. However, there are plenty of family-friendly beaches with great surf culture. Even if they don’t take to the sea, your kids are still going to have an awesome time staying at the beach when the weather’s just right. If you make a habit of it, make sure you buy boards instead of renting them all the time. It doesn’t take too many visits for them to be the more economically sensible choice.
Find your own retreat
If you want to ensure that you always have a vacation spot ready for the summer, then you can just as easily rent one yourself. Services like those at this link offer ranches and other rural property that could be just the perfect relaxing escape from the pressures of school and work for the whole family. When you’re not using it, or any other vacation home you might end up investing in, you can rent it out as well. Ranches can be a particularly powerful source of passive income if you rent it out to a farm manager and use it as the land was intended to be used for livestock and other produce.
Find the nearby tropics
Perhaps you want all the gorgeous weather and exotic experiences of a tropical holiday, but you don’t want to venture too far out from your home. The good news is that you don’t have to. There are plenty of tropical vacation spots much closer to home as shown at this site. It’s going to be about much more than sun, sea, and sand for your kids, however. There are the aforementioned surfing and those ever-popular water parks in many of these destinations, not to mention extravagant wildlife displays, colorful scuba diving experiences and much, much more. You don’t have to go too far to get a slice of paradise.
Make it a staycation
Kids can have just as much fun in a big city as adults can (providing you choose the right spot in the city). If you live in a suburban area, then it can be extremely cost-effective and accessible to simply take them into the city for a staycation. The money you would have spent on travel can instead be spent on room service or the many attractions of the city. This link shows some of the best staycation cities in the country, ranking them not just by the recreation on offer, but the food, drink, rest, and relaxation spots as well.
Make sure you’re having fun, too
Giving your kids the travel bug might have a lot of benefits, but it’s nowhere near as fun if you’re not enjoying yourself on the vacation as well. Beyond making it more of a chore than a break, it can spoil the trip for other members of the family, as well. The best way to ensure you’re more likely to enjoy yourself is to simply find some time to yourself during the trip. Kids’ clubs are a great tool to make sure your children are in safe, protected and fun environment while you do your own thing and enjoy some of the more adult attractions of the destination. If you’re traveling as a larger family, take it in shifts with the kids, too. While one adult is looking after them, get some one-on-one time to do what you want, then let them have the same.
Keep records together
The experiences that you create together on your travels can be some of the most valuable aspects of the whole vacation. But many of the details can be lost to time. It can make for a nice sentimental shared project, as well as a refresher on all the fun you’ve had together if the family collaborates and documents their trip. For instance, you can bring a GoPro camera and give everyone old enough to use it the time to be the “vacation photographer”. On the other hand, encouraging your kids to write diaries on their travels is a great introspective exercise for learning what they do and don’t enjoy and why.
Vacations really are good for you. They’re a great way of distressing away from the status quo, including the stresses of work for adults and the stresses of school for kids. Those breaks tend to refresh us, improving our productivity and helping us achieve betters results in whatever our endeavors are, as well. They’re not just a frivolous use of time and money. They’re an important part of the human experience so it’s worth ensuring them for your kids.