Because of the punishing, predatory price of gasoline for motorists, for many families, the latest vacation trend is hitting close to home - literally. A recent survey reveals that when making decisions about discretionary spending, 97 percent of families with children under 12 are not likely to cut the close-to-home vacation. This spring and summer, budget-conscious families stunned by the sky-rocketing gas prices with no relief in sight are exploring destinations in their own "backyards" or within a three- to five-hour drive from home.
That's great news for antsy kids eager for adventure, and for parents who repeatedly hear their kids say, "There's nothing to do." With no politicians or organizations "watching our backs" as the oil companies deviously and brutally prey on us at the gas pumps, the following budget-savvy tips could help families looking for affordable, close-to-home vacation fun. *Check Web sites often. Many times, the best deals can be found on hotel or attraction Web sites. Check online to find the lowest rates and great packages. *Travel midweek. It can be cheaper to travel Sunday through Thursday instead of taking the traditional weekend getaway. *Bring your own food and drinks. Look for accommodations that include in-room refrigerators and microwaves. Save money by eating a meal or snack in your room. For example, you can have cereal for breakfast or enjoy a cold soda after dinner. *Find fun family destinations. A family vacation should be about spending time together, but that doesn't mean that everyone has the same interests. Look for destinations that offer variety-on-site dining, spas, arcade, sight seeing, and kids' activities to help create positive, long-lasting memories for everyone. *Ask about ways to extend your fun. When at your destination, you never know what surprising sights and experiences are available that only the "locals" are aware of.
*Schedule your vacation travel to better link sight-seeing trips and stops to help minimize driving extra miles and consuming more costly fuel.