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Planning Affordable Family Summer Vacations

With summer on the way, it's time to plan the ultimate summer vacay. Here's your guide to plan affordable family summer vacations.

With summer vacations on the way, it’s time to plan the ultimate summer vacay for the family.

But it’s really easy to end up spending more than you planned to. Luckily you found this guide!
Let’s take a look at how to plan affordable family summer vacations – that aren’t boring!

cheap family summer vacation ideas

Planning Your Trip

Planning affordable summer family vacations requires thorough research.
Here’s what you need to consider:

Location, Location

First off, you want to find the perfect location. To do that, you need to consider a few things.

  • Affordability: As with our other blogs on affordable vacations, cost is the main factor here. Apart from accommodation, you should consider things like transport, food, and activities as well.
  • Weather: You should also consider what kind of weather you want to experience during your affordable family summer vacations. Whether you want to have some fun in the sun or spend the summer somewhere cooler, you should choose a destination that aligns with your and your family’s goals.
  • Activities: Your family’s summer vacation isn’t just about the destination; it’s about the experiences you share. Do some Googling to find historic sites, rentable bikes, and other low-cost (or zero-cost) activities that allow you to spend time together as a family.

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Finding affordable flights is a crucial aspect of planning affordable family summer vacations. Here are a few ways you can save in the flights department.

  • Comparison Websites: Platforms such as Skyscanner and Google Flights allow you to compare options and choose the most cost-effective flights for your family.
  • Travel Dates: Consider traveling during off-peak times or mid-week when airfares are typically lower. Also, you can save more by being open to adjusting your departure and return dates to take advantage of cheaper fares.
  • Fare Alerts & Alternative Airports: Sometimes, smaller or less centrally located airports offer lower fares than their larger counterparts.
  • Fare Alerts: Many airlines and travel websites offer fare alert services that notify you of price drops and special promotions on flights to your desired destinations.


Whether you’re embarking on a road trip, heading to the beach, or exploring a new city, packing efficiently is key to a successful family summer vacation.

  • Versatile Clothing: Pack lightweight, versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched, and breathable fabrics suitable for warm weather, such as cotton or linen. And to top it all off, you can choose items that can transition seamlessly from daytime adventures to evening outings.
  • Packing Space: Avoid overpacking by sticking to the essentials and leaving non-essential items at home. Consider the activities you have planned and pack accordingly. Roll your clothes instead of folding them to save space and minimize wrinkles. You can also try packing cubes or compression bags to organize and maximize space in your luggage.

affordable family summer vacations

Top Locations For Affordable Family Summer Vacations

Here are some of the top locations for affordable summer vacations.

1. National Parks

National parks offer a wealth of outdoor adventures and natural beauty at an affordable cost.

Look at places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, or Great Smoky Mountains National Park for camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, and scenic drives.

Many national parks also offer ranger-led programs and educational activities for families.

2. Beaches

Places like Myrtle Beach, Outer Banks, or Gulf Shores offer beautiful beaches, water sports, and family-friendly attractions without breaking the bank.

Consider visiting during the shoulder season for lower prices and fewer crowds.

3. Lakeside Retreats

Destinations like Lake Tahoe, Lake George, or Lake Placid offer opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking amidst stunning natural scenery.

Renting a cabin or camping by the lake can be an affordable accommodation option for families.

4. Historic Cities

Cities like Charleston, Savannah, or Boston offer free walking tours, historic sites, and museums, allowing you to immerse yourselves in history and culture without spending a fortune.

5. Camping

Camping is always an affordable way to enjoy nature and bond as a family.

Look for campgrounds with amenities such as playgrounds, hiking trails, and swimming areas

6. Budget-Friendly Theme Parks

Destinations like Six Flags, Cedar Point, or Hersheypark offer a variety of rides, attractions, and entertainment options for families on a budget.

7. Cultural Festivals

Many cities and towns host festivals celebrating music, food, art, and culture, offering free or low-cost entertainment for families. Check local event calendars and consider attending festivals like music festivals, food festivals, or county fairs for a fun and affordable summer vacation experience.

affordable summer family vacations

Entertaining The Kids

Even the most affordable family summer vacations can be filled with amazing memories.

Tips For Keeping The Kids Engaged

Here are some tips to keep the kids engaged so that everybody has a great time!

  • Plan Ahead: Take time before your trip to plan activities that cater to each child’s interests. Whether it’s a day at the beach, exploring museums, or hiking in nature, having a schedule ensures there’s something exciting for everyone.
  • Keep It Flexible: While planning is essential, be open to spontaneous adventures and changes in your itinerary. Kids’ interests may shift, weather might surprise you, so having flexibility ensures everyone stays happy and engaged.
  • Let Them Choose: Involve your children in decision-making. Let them pick activities, attractions, or even restaurants. When kids have a say in the plans, they’re more likely to be invested and excited about the vacation.

Summer Activities

Here are a few outdoor & indoor activities you can use to spend time with the little ones.

Beach Day Activities

  • Sandcastle building
  • Beach volleyball
  • Shell collecting
  • Picnics

Nature Exploration

  • Hiking
  • Wildlife spotting
  • Scavenger hunts

Outdoor Adventures

  • Biking
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing

Cultural Experiences

  • Museum visits
  • Visiting historic sites


  • Outdoor movie nights
  • Campfire stories
  • Stargazing

best affordable family summer vacations

How Air Doctor Can Help

Did you know if you need to find a doctor abroad you can use the Air Doctor app to find one – anywhere, anytime.

Air Doctor gives you:

  • Access to over 20,000 multi-lingual doctors worldwide
  • Choice of clinic, at-home (hotel), and video visits
  • Local, valid prescriptions through our cross-border services
  • Quality medical care, including urgent visits
  • 24/7 multi-lingual customer support
  • Video consultation services in up to 21 languages
  • Partnered with leading insurance providers

Download the app, just in case.

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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.