1. Travel

Affordable Family Vacations

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When the budget gets tighter, families still need a getaway -- perhaps more than ever. Below are some affordable family vacation ideas, plus some suggestions for doing certain great vacation experiences in a more affordable way.

The Motherlode of Deals and Special Packages

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Royal Caribbean International

 We all love taking family vacations, but nobody likes paying more than necessary. For some families, scoring a great deal can mean the difference between going on vacation or staying home. These deal pages are treasure troves for bargain hunters and value hounds, and include deals for Disney vacations, ski vacations, cruise vacations, and every region of the US.

Least Expensive Times to Visit Disney World

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Walt Disney Company

If you want to visit Disney World on a budget, timing is perhaps the single most important factor to consider. The best time to visit Disney World is when crowds, prices, and temperatures are all bearable—or when there is an irresistibly great Disney vacation deal on the table.

How To Save Money on a Family Cruise

Disney Fantasy cruise ship. Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line.
Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line.

Shopping for a family cruise? Follow these savvy tactics to keep more money in your wallet while landing a fantastic getaway at sea. Here are tried-and-true ways to save on a kid-friendly cruise.

Ten Top Budget Travel Destinations for Families

affordable vacation ideas - Page AZ - Photo ©  Teresa Plowright
Page, Arizona - lots to do!
Check out family-friendly destinations where lodgings can be found at a good price point, and where there's plenty of fun to be found. Page, Arizona, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Washington DC, the Acadiana region in Louisiana....

Family Camps

family camps - affordable vacations
Photo courtesy of Medomak Family Camp, Maine.
"Family camps" are like the summer camps so many kids enjoy -- but the whole family goes on the trip. Plenty of outdoor recreation, such as hiking or lakeside swimming; lots of schedule outdoor fun; kids programs; campfires at night; simple lodgings; all meals included. Some family camps get creative with activities for grown-ups (beer-tasting, anyone?); others have a special focus, such as music or the performing arts.

Family Camping

affordable vacations - family camping
Photo © Teresa Plowright
And of course there is also straight-up Family Camping: more effort and more roughing-it, but with wonderful pay-offs (and beautifully low budget.) Closeness to nature, a break from the wired world, family-time around the picnic table-- and the family can include Fido, too.

Camping in Comfort

Camping in a yurt. Photo courtesy of Yosemite Pines, California.
Photo courtesy of Yosemite Pines, California.
Ok, so it's not really "camping". But it sure is an easy way to take a family vacation at a campground. Not only do you not have to set up the tent in the dark (-funny how often that happens), you also don't have to buy, find, pack, or unload a ton of gear. Simply step into your abode that's already set up and equipped with beds, lighting, maybe even a fridge or microwave. And kids will think it's fun to stay in a yurt or tipi or deluxe canvas tent.

Camp at Walt Disney World

Affordable vacation idea - Fort Wilderness, at Disney World
Photo © Teresa Plowright
Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is a unique place to stay at Walt Disney World: save big-time on your budget by camping here, and still enjoy all the perks of staying at a Disney World Resort (-- use of the free Disney bus system, Extra Magic Hours in the theme parks, and more.) There's plenty of fun on-site at this giant resort, and a shuttle runs to the Magic Kingdom from its dock. If camping's not your thing, cabins are available.

Camping Resorts

camping resorts - affordable getaways
Photo courtesy of Eurocamp.
You want the Great Outdoors, you want the low budget... but you'd also like a certain level of comfort, lodgings, amenities, kids programs, and other activities. A camping resort may fill the bill.

Yellowstone Lodging and Learning: Value Family Adventure

Bison, in the Lamar Valley. Photo ©  Teresa Plowright.
Bison, in the Lamar Valley.
Yellowstone National Park is unique on the planet, with stupendous scenery, wildlife viewing, and "geothermal features" such as geysers, hot springs, and mudpots. Families can learn and see plenty on 4-night "Learning and Lodging" programs offered by the Yellowstone Association Institute, exploring the Park with an naturalist. Lodging and some meals included too. Similar to guided Family Adventures, but much lower price point.

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