Summer travel is a great opportunity to visit family, to explore a historical town, to visit a state park you always dreamed of. Or it can be simply an opportunity to get out of the house! Whatever your agenda, it can and should be fun. It is true though that traveling can cost a pretty penny. But that does not mean that you have to stay home and pout.
There are ways to do travel on the cheap and have a great time. Set your expectation right, find some cool destinations, and get going!
Summer travel idea 1: Day Trip
My personal favorite is a Summer Day Trip. The idea is to take a trip that only lasts a day. It’s short, and it offers flexibility and minimum packing! You can even visit another state and come back in one day. That’s how versatile it can be!
Tell your kids you are going on an adventure today and ask them to pack 5 necessary things. You can keep a destination a secret (always fun) or you can discuss the destination options with your kids prior to the day trip as well. Whatever you decide to do, try to stay positive and optimistic about the timing, the setbacks, and the outcome. Even if it turns out to be a flop, it’s an experience of learning from your mistakes. Or it could be a fun” fail story” to tell in the coming years.
Some of the examples of fun Day Trip destinations: a beach day trip, a day at the farm, a day trip to the amusement park, state capital trip, hiking day trip, etc.
Summer travel idea 2: Road Trip
This type of summer travel can also last just a day, but usually it spans over the course of 2-3 days or even a couple of weeks. The idea is to take a trip in your car (or RV/camper, or a bus), hitting multiple stops and exploring them along the way.
The beauty of the Road Trip is that you are in charge of your destination, but also of the route you are taking to get there! Even if you only go somewhere 3 hours away, you can plan your trip and its stops so that it takes you 3 days to see and do everything you planned! It is truly a very flexible and fun way to do summer travel.
Your destinations can be with certain purpose, like visiting extended family or touring a specific college. Or it can be just a fun, no agenda, let’s hop in the car, close your eyes, and point to the map kind of a road trip.
Whatever your personality is and however rigid or laid-back you want to be, a road trip provides that flexibility. Even if you change your mind in the middle of driving, it’s OK! Pick a new destination and keep driving!
Since the main point of your road trip is to see new places, where you stay for the night often doesn’t matter as much. If you feel adventurous enough, just dive down the route you were traveling and look for “vacancy” sings on motels and small town hotels. Very often (especially if the hotel is located in the rural area), they have plenty of rooms available and are quite affordable.
Examples of road trips are:
- extended family visit
- college tour
- waterfalls trip
- state park trip
- visit of a nearby big city you’ve never been to
- a trip to a neighboring state,
- cross-country road trip,
- across the border trip (Canada or Mexico, depending where you live)
- and so many more!
summer travel idea 3: Staycation
This type of travel doesn’t even sound like travel at all, right? But let me explain. Staycation usually means you are taking a vacation right where you are. You can have a staycation in the comfort of your own home. Or you can stay somewhere in the area not too far from home. What matters is that you are not leaving your area. You are instead STAY-ing put for your va-CATION. Stay-cation!
What can you do to make it fun for you and your kids? Find a hotel with a … (this part is very important!) POOL, right in your town or nearby. Then book it for the week-end! You still have to pack your bags, anticipate the adventure, and stay somewhere other than home. Small town hotels are usually way cheaper than big city ones.
You can experience a short little “getaway” without actually going anywhere further than your home town and spending a fortune! If you are a member of a frequent flyer club, check if you can redeem your miles for a hotel stay.
The kids will think it’s the best to have their own pool, which is very often empty in hotels. And parents will get a break from the mundane routines, preparing the meals, cleaning, and making the beds. During the day, you can go to the matinée movie or play at the park or go hiking. You can pack your own sandwiches and snacks and store them in the mini fridge in the hotel room. Or you can hang out at the hotel all day, especially if it’s gloomy out. Play board games in the lobby, swim in the pool, or have a movie marathon in your room.
Staycation sounds unusual, yes, but it’s fun and can be very affordable!
Summer travel idea 4: Camping
A fair warning: this type of summer travel may not be for everyone! But if you’re into nature and outdoor exploring, a camping trip might very well be number 1 instead of 4 on your list! Everyone should experience camping at least once in their lives! And kids will get a kick out of living for a day or two outdoors. And maybe…they will come home appreciating their comfy rooms and soft beds, haha!
This will probably be only affordable if you already own some camping gear. It will include (but not limited to): a tent, sleeping bags, mats/mattresses, lanterns, tarp, fire-pit cooking utensils, and a few other necessities. If you don’t own these, but can borrow from a friend, you might still be in luck.
The beauty of this summer travel is that you get to be in nature and away from the business and distraction of everyday life. There is often no reception in the woods, so what does it mean? Your phones and electronics will only be good to use as a camera, a flashlight, and maybe a notepad. More time for human connection!
What better way to reconnect with each other but through talking, singing, cooking, fishing, hiking, and adventuring together! You can find a camp ground near your home town. Another options is to take a road trip to another picturesque destination of your choice.
The good news is the cost of renting a camp site is usually charged per vehicle. So if you go as a family in one car, it’s usually very affordable. Your expenses will include a tank of gas, firewood, food and drink, and a few supplies necessary to stay in the woods. You won’t need to worry about outfits and good eating manners. During camping, most everything goes! Simple, inexpensive, and refreshing to the soul.
All these options can be exciting for the kids and grown-ups alike. Getting out of the house and going someplace else is not only exciting but sometimes even necessary! It resets your brain and emotional state and helps to start your week/month over with a fresh start.
Do you have plans to travel this summer with your kids? Leave a comment bellow to share what kind of trip you hope to take. I’d love to hear about your ideas or experiences if you already went.