Three Cheap Vacation Ideas

If the current economy has you tightening the ol’ belt on your household budget, here are a few cheap vacation ideas to help you cope.

At first glance, “cheap vacation” may sound like an oxymoron, kind of like “military intelligence” or “jumbo shrimp.” We all know how easy it is to spend money when you’re vacationing, no matter where you go or what you do.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this article, we’ll suggest a few ways you can easily save money on your next vacation.


In my book, if you haven’t gone camping, you haven’t lived. There’s simply nothing quite like gathering around a campfire and laughing with your family. I’ve recently extolled the virtues of camping in another article, but suffice it to say, it’s an excellent and inexpensive way to take time off from the rat race.

For more information, check out The Joys of Camping.

Visit Friends and Relatives

One of the most expensive costs while vacationing is, no surprise, lodging. If you’ve got a family, you don’t want to crowd them into one hotel room to save money, because there goes privacy! Sure, it’s usually possible to rent a condo or house while you’re in town, but in most markets that’s breathtakingly expensive.

So why not see if you can crash on Buddy Bob’s couch? Or maybe great Aunt Ethel has an extra guest room or two. One neat thing about staying with friends and relatives is that they can show you all the cool things about their areas, and hey, maybe they need a little vacation, too. That’ll just add to the fun!

Of course, you shouldn’t just show up on their doorstep and expect them to take you in. Call them up, feel them out, and make arrangements. And when you’re there, be sure to pay for all the groceries your family consumes, not to mention all the fees and costs for the fun things you do.

The Classic Staycation

Sometimes the budget’s just too tight to go anywhere, so you have to make the best of what you’ve got. Start looking for fun things to do in your area that you haven’t done before, or revisit places you’ve been particularly impressed by.

Given our busy lifestyles, it’s the rare person who’s sampled all the offerings in their region, especially if you live in or near a big city. If you think you have, start thinking outside the box. There’s usually a museum, new section of town, or restaurant you haven’t tried. Try something new every day!

Now, we admit that none of these ideas is necessarily as exciting as a trip to Sweden or a visit to Paris, but they’re a lot less expensive, too. Sometimes, you just need a cheap vacation, and these are all great ways to enjoy yourself.