submitted by Amountulla
Vacation time is approaching. No money? No problem. Years ago as a struggling single mom I faced the same dilemma.
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Here's an almost no cost vacation that was fun for me and my two small children. It's called Day Tripping. This works very well with younger children.
Family Fun on a Budget
Start a few weeks ahead of time and do your research. Call the local chamber of commerce and ask for a summer event schedule and local attractions in your area. Some of these will be no cost. Call the library and do the same. Use the internet and search engines to look for events and attractions in your area. There are outdoor learning centers, zoos, nature parks, etc.
One or two days can be an at home event. Like: Buy an inexpensive plastic blow-up pool or several large and small plastic bins, a couple of lawn chairs, beach toys and a water hose (if you are not under water restrictions). Or take them to a local pool for the day and stay there with them.
On any vacation, if you want to ration some spending money (which eliminates a lot of begging and saves money), put an allotted amount of money in a sealed envelope with the child's name and the day printed on it. My kids couldn't wait to get their envelope each day.
Keys to Success:
1. Explain to children about the fun things you have planned.
2. Pack a lunch, a change of clothes and a bathing suit everyday.
3. Make sure events are no more than an hours drive.
4. You can plan more than one event per day.
5. If you have an only child, let him/her take a friend.
6. Stay with your children. No dropping them off.
7. Take pictures and let the children help you make a scrapbook.
8. Stay OFF the cell phone!
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