Saving Money on Travel Part 1 – Staycation

As winter fades into spring, many people are starting to plan their spring and summer vacations. I have created a multi-part series on ways to save money on travel. 

One of my favorite ways to spend my free time is to travel. With the recent challenges in the economy many people are cutting back on travel or giving up travel completely. Since July 2009, I have been sharing ways to save money on groceries, drugstore items, clothes and toys through this blog, but I also want to share my favorite ways to save on travel and vacations. This is the first part to a multi-part series offering tips for saving money on travel.

One of the biggest questions for many families this year is can I afford to vacation at all. One of the popular alternatives to the traditional vacation is a “Staycation.” If you are one of the many families who have given up travel completely this year here are some tips to create a wonderful vacation experience right in your own back yard.

  • Free Events – One of the best ways to explore your area is to seek out FREE events including festivals, free museums and other events in your area. Most newspapers have a section that lists free events.
  • Invest in Memberships – Make use of memberships that you already own or invest in a membership to a zoo, museums or club that your family can use year round. Each year my family invests in a zoo membership. Our zoo membership gives us unlimited access to our local zoo plus also allows FREE entrance to other zoos across the country when we are able to travel.
  • Use the memberships you already have. If you have a membership at a gym with a pool, they often offer family swim days. Check with your gym for the family swim schedule, then pack some pool toys and head out for a great day of family fun. 
  • Enjoy your local parks. My husband, daughter and I love heading to the park for a day of family fun. You can pack a picnic lunch and bring an inexpensive kite for a fun experience. You can also find a different park in your area than where you usually go to enjoy something new.
  • Use discounts for entertainment. You can often search through your gift certificates to find lost treasures like any movie certificates, restaurant certificates or other items you can use to add a fun family activity. Each year we purchase an Entertainment Book for our area. The Entertainment books offer buy one get one free deals to activities and restaurants. They often include discounts for bowling alleys, games centers and movie theaters plus other arcades or amusements parks both locally and nationally.
  • Explore your area through day trips. Within a few hours of our area, there are great lakes, hiking areas, ski areas, ghost towns, dunes, and other activities like the Birds of Prey. Each area is unique and offers inexpensive opportunities for a day trip or vacation closer to home.
  • Dine out at a restaurant that you have been wanting to try in your area. You can save money by using coupons from the Entertainment Book or go to to find great deals on local dining.
  • Check out other FREE events like the National Park WeekGo HERE to see the dates in 2011when you can receive FREE admission to US National Parks.

These are just a few tips to help you enjoy your vacation if you decide to stay closer to home this year. Please feel free to share your favorite money saving trips for travel by leaving a comment below.

Catch up on my travel series, Saving Money on Travel.

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