With summer approaching, you may face a dilemma as a single dad. You’d like to take your children on a memorable vacation, but you don’t have an unlimited travel budget.
What to do? Start planning now, and you can put together an affordable summer vacation.
“Preparation is key,” writes travel expert Peter Greenberg. “And when that doesn’t work, the real trick is to be flexible.”
Here are five vacation ideas to consider.
1. Family cruises.
Some people think of cruises as extravagant, but they can actually be a bargain for a summer vacation if you’re traveling with kids. Meals are included, and the ships have many entertainment options for children and adults.
“Family-friendly ships are teeming with services and facilities that keep kids of all ages engaged, from supervised playrooms with arts and crafts, games and storytelling to action-packed arcades and teen clubs,” according to FamilyCruise.com, which plans and books vacations.
Cruises not only offer entertainment, they can be educational as well. “The faraway cultures and destinations they might read about in their schoolbooks can come alive on a cruise,” the site says.
2. Camping in national parks.
“National Parks are a real bargain, and parents have been subsidizing these campsites for years through their tax dollars,” says travel writer Christina Gregoire.
Start by visiting NationalParks.org to get an idea where you’d like to go for summer vacation. Your choices are immense.
“There are 84 million acres of iconic, treasured and sacred places protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks – and it all belongs to you,” the site says.
You can plan your own park vacation or turn to websites that offer recommendations. One is IndependentTraveler.com. It can help you decide which national park is right for you and your kids.
3. Travel with other families.
Your kids have school friends, and their parents are probably also searching for summer vacation ideas. Why not pair up with one or more other families? You’d enjoy the adult company, and your kids would enjoy having friends around.
“Vacation together to reduce the cost,” says 1001-vacation-ideas.com. “This can mean sharing a hotel suite, a lodge room, a cabin or maybe renting an RV together.”
4. Stay with friends or relatives.
Exercise caution here. You don’t want to spend a week with someone who drives you crazy just to save money. But you might have friends or family members around the country that both you and your kids like.
You could offer to pay some of the entertainment expenses in exchange for staying at their house. Your hosts could serve as tour guides, and you could repay the favor next summer by inviting your hosts to stay with you and your kids.
5. Visit water parks.
Here’s a unique, relatively inexpensive idea. Water parks – both outdoor and indoor – have become so prevalent that your state probably has several within a day’s drive.
You could take a succession of day trips to water parks, winding up at home each night. Also, some parks have onsite lodging at reasonable prices. Either way, the kids would have hours of safe fun at the water parks, with little for you to do but relax.
Sites such as Waterparks.com or ThemeParks.About.comprovide listings by state. The United States has more than 1,000 water parks, according to Waterparks.com. Did you know the largest indoor park in the country is Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio? Check it out.
Being a single parent means being resourceful, especially when money is tight. Don’t let a limited budget stand in the way of an entertaining summer vacation for you and your kids. Start planning now, and you can create a vacation you’ll talk about for years.