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Catch the Bluebonnets in Texas This Spring
If you haven’t seen the wildflowers in Texas in the spring, you haven’t lived! The highway medians and hillsides are full of color – bright red, yellow and blue, pink and cream – but you better look out because cars are always pulling off the side...

Happy Trails for a stress-free year
Finding happiness is easier than you might think. Happiness is all around us, and all we have to do is hop in the car and hit the road to find it. Actually, there is more to true happiness than just jumping in the car, but for many people,...

Lose Weight Today, and Keep it Off Permanently, with Cliff Kuhn, M.D.'s Fun Factor Diet
P.T. Barnum, who dedicated his life to entertaining the masses, often relied on size-related adjectives to sell his attractions. His posters and announcements were peppered with words like mammoth, extraordinary, colossal, and gargantuan. ...

Soul Matters? You Be The Judge!
In a world full of conflict and disarray, how do you connect with your inner peace? How can you develop a deeper connection to your soul? Better understand rationale behind individual choices and intentions. Take a journey to true happiness and...

Visit Buena Park California
Buena Park, California, just under seven (7) miles down the freeway from Disneyland in Anaheim, is a city of 80,000 plus people and is a tourist attraction city that is overlooked by many tourists. This city is home to Knotts Berry Farm, "With...

 
Vacation Values

The family vacation is a tradition intended to bring families closer together and one that many of us would just not think of giving up. Quality time for the family reinforces the importance of family values. It's sort of a "time out" from the day to day routine of living and growing. A chance to focus on getting to know better those that are most important to us, our family. Of course, how much importance you place on this event depends on your past experiences.

In today's fast paced society a vacation just isn't a vacation unless its costing you a small fortune to get to, and stay at, some exotic venue that usually offers no excitement without dishing out more money. I suggest we put on the brakes and get back to basics. You surely won't have a better opportunity to do so than on the family vacation.

Let's not forget that the "family" extends beyond our home life. Most of us have family that we rarely get to spend time with either because of distance or time issues. But, one should always make time for family. Right? I knew you would agree! Not trying to make you feel guilty here but, we do have a way of letting life rush us through the years. I call it "non-intentional neglect" and most of us are guilty of it at some point in our lives. So, let's re-invent the family vacation to include some real quality time that reinforces the value of our families.

Would you consider a visit to grandparents, distant uncles, or a friend's home a vacation? When I was growing up, the family vacation usually meant visiting family members who lived some distance away. Coming from a family of limited finances, this tradition was budget friendly yet, was sufficient to satisfy our need to escape the norms of home life.

Of course, as the teen age years approached, it became harder and harder for my mom to convince us that "we would have a good time" visiting the relatives. Some of which we had already spent several vacations visiting and had, I guess, lost their uniqueness to us as teenagers. That said, if any of you can figure out what makes a teenager happy, except socializing with their own peers, then congrats! Let me know your secret. All kidding aside, I believe that they still enjoy the family outings but have a strong resistance to acknowledging that they are actually having fun. In other words, they are having fun and just refuse to admit it!

I was a single parent for many years and just didn't have the money for family vacations requiring hotel stays and admission fees. I guess I followed in my mother's footsteps in hoping that a visit out of town would suffice. And it did. For many years, the family vacation consisted of a visit to a dear friend or family member's home who was willing to put up with four kids for a week. These are truly "beloved friends and family!"

I am fortunate to have a good friend for life who has two children within the same age group as my kids. Since we didn't get to visit often throughout the year, these visits were exciting for both my kids and hers who had become good friends.

So, by all means plan to visit a family member's, or friend's, home for a week. Young children especially enjoy these trips. They make new friends and the family ties are strengthened. This is an excellent way to reinforce family values and the importance of keeping in touch with family members that may live some distance from your home.

Do a little research before you go. Find out if there are any museums, historical sites, low cost attractions, or state parks within driving distance from where you'll be staying and plan to visit. Remember to ask the family member or friend you are visiting if they have any suggestions. Since they live in the area, they will most likely be aware of popular spots. Ask about bowling, roller skating, or special movie nights in the area and plan accordingly. You can even plan some game or craft activities to keep everyone busy and having fun.

For those of you who have worn out your welcome or simply don't have family within a reasonable distance, finding vacation spots that will provide a memorable experience for everyone in the family can be a challenge. Especially on a tight budget. Don't be discouraged, it is not impossible. Plan for your vacation and include it in your budget. This is the easiest way to prepare for a vacation expense and take the stress out of planning.

Since the goal here is to get the most fun for your money, let's talk about some low cost vacation ideas that could be right for your family.

Camping is a great low cost option for families that enjoy the outdoors. Don't worry, you don't have to sleep in a tent. There are lots of state parks that rent cabins for a very reasonable fee.

I can highly recommend the Finger Lakes area of New York if it's a convenient distance for you. About a five hour drive for us, it turned out to be one of our most memorable vacations.

I'll warn you, these cabins are booked full up to a year in advance. So, plan early. Tent spaces aren't as difficult to book. The park sports an amazing gorge trail with thundering waterfalls, scheduled nature learning activities, and a large play ground. The activity I think the kids enjoyed the most was the natural swimming area, with diving boards, at the bottom of a beautiful waterfall.

As an added bonus, when you are registered at a state park, you gain


free entrance into all state parks. This area is loaded with beautiful parks full of gorge trails, lake views, and camping facilities. And, if you find the time, you can visit the Corning Glass Museum not far from this campground.

This is a tourist area you will definitely find yourself wanting to revisit. We did not get to see all we had wanted to see in a weeks time. You are likely to find an area of such natural beauty convenient to you as well. Just do a little research, you never know what you'll find!

If you want to beach it, be sure to check out all your options for lodging. Sometimes a large family can do better by renting a condo or home for the week rather than staying at a hotel. Remember, you can save a tremendous amount of money if you can prepare your own meals while on vacation. A good portion of a families vacation budget can be literally "eaten up"! Even a little kitchenette in a suite can save you big bucks.

If you're campers, you can almost always find a campground near popular beach areas and get maximum savings on lodging.

Don't forget your best resources, friends and family. Ask around to see if anyone has visited an area you plan to go. You may get lucky and have a "friend that has a friend" who maybe has a vacation spot they wouldn't mind renting to you for a lesser fee. Sometimes people won't rent out their vacation spots for various reasons, but don't mind doing so if the tenant is a trusted acquaintance of a friend or family member.

When travel and lodging are cost prohibitive, you can still have a vacation right at home. Yes, in your own backyard. Many of us live within reasonable distance to museums, campgrounds, historic sites, and beautiful state parks. You might be surprised at what you find in your own local area.

Do some research in your area to find free or low cost activities and sites to visit. Schedule something for each day of the week, even if it's just a park visit for a picnic. Some areas have local public beaches. Plan an outing at a local public beach. Visit historical sites. Many of these are free, educational, and fun for parents and kids.

You can even plan activities at home just as if you were at an exotic vacation spot. Have a different theme for each day. For example:

A beach day (sun tanning, volley ball, make some fancy icy drinks to sip on in the sun, have a picnic)

A camp day (stay in a tent or sleeping bags under the stars, build a little fire if allowed in your area, roast marshmallows, make smores, sing campfire songs)

Have a backyard fair (create booths with games like ring toss or balloon popping to win little prizes)

A colonial day (dress, and live in another era!). This is great fun. I thought of this one purely by accident when the electricity went out one day. The kids expressed how "neat' it was to live like they did in the "old days." No lighting except candles and lanterns, no T.V. or radio, no video games or computer. Sounds boring, but believe it or not, they had fun coming up with ideas to keep occupied. A good teaching tool too!
Shhhhhhhh….. don't tell the kids.

These "theme days" at home will take some imagination and a little work, but will be loads of fun for everyone. Half the fun will be in the creation, so let everyone pitch in. You may even have more fun than actually being there!

Whatever you decide to do, if you're traveling a great distance be sure to check all your travel options. With today's soaring gas prices it's not unlikely that you may be able to get there faster, and cheaper, in the air. Hey, maybe there's a conspiracy here?

If all this just doesn't fall into your category of "fun", and you just have to have that exotic resort vacation, then at least be sensible about it. There are many great deals on vacation packages and off season rentals. And oodles of travel agencies just waiting to tell you about them. This is one area where do-it-yourself isn't the most practical advice. Travel agencies are privy to a lot of travel information, especially seasonal discounts, that you and I don't have knowledge of. Do Your Research at least for goodness sake. You won't be kicking yourself later when you come across that great deal you missed out on!

Check out your local travel agencies, as well as some of the many online agencies. Don't forget, if you're an AAA member you’re eligible for travel discounts. Before finalizing any plans, be sure to know your rights. What happens if you have to cancel? What is the deadline to cancel? Will you loose your deposit or is it refundable? Know your options.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, don't lose sight of the value of a family vacation. Be sure to schedule quality time together no matter what your destination. Be safe and enjoy!


About the Author: Cheryl Johnson is a mother of four helping herself and others become, and remain, debt free. Publisher of the personal finance site Simple Debt Free Living at http://www.simpledebtfreeliving.com where you can find a free household budget plan and a variety of money saving tips to maximize savings

Source: www.isnare.com

 

Roadside America - Guide to Uniquely Odd Tourist Attractions
Homepage for Roadside America, your travel guide to offbeat attractions, tourist traps, weird vacations, and roadtrips. Let the Travel Brain do the driving!
www.roadsideamerica.com
 
Attractions Ontario - the place to plan your Ontario Tourism ...
A private, not-for-profit association that was created exclusively to promote the interests of public- and private-sector attractions in Ontario.
www.attractionsontario.ca
 
toronto.com, Toronto Attractions, Attraction Guide, Museums, Art ...
toronto.com is Toronto's leading online attraction guide. Find out all you need to know about major attractions in Toronto, museums and art galleries, ...
www.toronto.com
 
US National Parks
NATIONAL PARKS Favorite parks:. Acadia |; Glacier |; Grand Canyon |; Grand Teton |; Great Smokies |; Olympic |; Rocky Mountain |; Yellowstone |; Yosemite | ...
gorp.away.com
 
San Antonio Attractions Guide - Complete List of Attractions in ...
Official San Antonio attractions guide. Find a complete listing of top attractions in San Antonio including attraction history, location, ...
www.sanantoniocvb.com
 
UKattraction - The UK's leading online tourist attraction directory
UKattraction.com is comprehensive directory for anyone seeking any type of visitor and tourist attractions within England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and ...
www.ukattraction.com
 
Attractions Canada
Tourist and Travel information for Canada and its provinces.
www.attractionscanada.com
 
New Zealand Leading Tourist Attractions - The very best activities ...
Information about tourist attractions, culture, tourism, vacations, tours, touring, car rental and car hire.
www.leadingattractions.co.nz
 
Attractions Management
ADVERTISE in the Attractions Management directory for less than £40 a month. ... Merlin Entertainments, the UK-based attractions operator which now owns the ...
www.attractions.co.uk
 
International Association of Amusment Parks and Attractions
Trade association created to serve family fun centers, amusement parks, waterparks, attractions and the manufacturers and suppliers that serve them.
www.iaapa.org
 
Seattle Attractions Discounts
Find information and coupons for guided historic tours of the Pacific Northwest and Seattle zoos and aquariums, museums, sports tours, cruises, ferries, ...
www.seattleattractions.com
 
Los Angeles Attractions and Tours
A guide to the city of Los Angeles, its arts and culture, entertainment, restaurants, music, history, politics, people.
www.losangeles.com
 
Orlando Attractions - Vacation and Travel Information for Central ...
Site features local area and statewide attraction information.
www.orlandoattractions.com
 
Miami attractions, Fort Lauderdale attractions and West Palm Beach ...
Beaches, parks, museums, tourist sites and other attractions in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
www.southflorida.com
 
Guidelive.com
Top 100 attractions -- updated · Singles scene guide · Whirls of fun: A guide to Six Flags · Coffeehouses with live music · Sports bars guide · Road trips ...
www.guidelive.com
 
City of Atlanta Online
Atlanta's attractions are known the world over for its parks, sports teams, shopping, ... We hope you find these attractions both educational and useful. ...
www.atlantaga.gov
 
Sussex Top Attractions
An online brochure with details of 55 great places to visit in Sussex, England!
www.sussextourism.org.uk
 
White Mountains Attractions Association
Extensive directory with links to area attractions, lodging, and services. Also offers events calendar, group travel guide, press room, photo gallery, ...
www.visitwhitemountains.com
 
Attractions in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Profiles local tourist attractions. Offers coupons, maps, and event calendar.
www.vancouverattractions.com
 
Las Vegas Attractions
Las Vegas attractions offer something for everyone. Attractions in Las Vegas range from art exhibits to world class entertainment.
www.vegas.com
 
 

 

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