Family holidays: Use your imagination and save some money

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

A family holiday doesn't have to include fancy flights to far off place or ritzy resorts to reap meaningful rewards.

So clear the calendar and consider these five ideas that won't break the bank.

1.Go for it: 

Plan to participate in a half marathon, hike the canyon, or camp in the country.

This is the year to research, plan and execute that big idea you've been talking about but never had time to organise. Declare it a family affair and make the training and preparations part of the fun.

2.Trade houses: 

Find a friend or family member in a nearby neighbourhood who is willing to join in the fun.

Think about it: new toys in closet, bikes in the garage, playsets in the backyard and snacks in the cupboard. (Agree upfront on what is included in the deal.) Trade information about local walking paths, parks, museums, restaurants and movie theatres. Then enjoy the new view.

3.Commit to a weekend "away": 

Part of the holiday mindset includes saying no to checking work email, sending text messages, or posting on Instagram. If not for a week, agree to make family the focus for one whole weekend.

Visit a new restaurant, go to a ballgame, take a long bike ride, float the river in an inner-tube or play board games at home. Check out the local farmer's markets for fresh food or trek to the newest ice-cream shop for a special sweet treat. If duty calls, let folks know your family is on holiday.

4. Focus on Free: 

Museums, festivals, lectures, parks, concerts and libraries are all sources of family fun where the admission is often gratis. Check local websites and create your no-cost itinerary for the length of your "holiday". 


5.  Book last minute and local:

Check travel websites for last-minute deals in your home town or in a nearby city. Without air and significant petrol charges, taking advantage of these down-to-the-wire deals can be worth the minimum expense. You'll enjoy the travel treat knowing you've kept expenses in check.