While we are still in the middle of winter, with the cold, rain and snow keeping us all snuggled up indoors by the fire, the last thing on our minds is the summer time. Yet, before you know it, school will be out for summer and the panic will set in.
One of the most expensive times of the year if you have children, those long, empty weeks sometimes seem impossible to fill without spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to keep the kids entertained or take them on vacation.
More and more people have to watch their budgets, so here are some great ideas to help you reduce the cost of filling the weeks of summer vacation.
Camps and Classes – Get in Quickly
Sending your kids to a summer camp or classes can work out to be a really expensive option. However, if you plan ahead, there are many discounts and early bird offers to be found. Look out for reductions for additional siblings too.
Some camps are really reasonable in price, so hunt around and book as soon as you can – these fill up fast.
It’s a similar story with taking the family on vacation. The earlier you book, the more chance you have of a discount. Many hotel packages offer your children (under a certain age) a free stay if you book early.
One of the cheapest ways of taking a vacation, it is so easy to hitch up your caravan and drive to wherever you desire going. Caravan parks are reasonably priced and often have great facilities for the kids to enjoy, such as swimming pools and play parks.
Even cheaper than a caravan, sleeping under a canvas is an adventure for children. They will love the excitement of being back to nature. There are some great camping grounds in some spectacular locations all over the U.S. For just a few dollars a night you can pitch your tent and have access to the toilet and shower facilities. There are often swimming pools and other facilities.
Alternatively, how about pitching a tent in the back yard? It might not be very exciting for you, but the kids will absolutely love it.
Grandparents/Aunties and Uncles
It’s at times like this where families can reconnect. Grandparents usually love to have the opportunity to look after their grandchildren and a few days with Nana and Grandpa will fill the kids with excitement.
On the other hand, how about taking turns with your sister/brother to have the kids? You could have their children stay with you for a few days and then they could return the favor. The kids would be happy as they will have their cousins to play with and you will get some time to yourself.
Start collecting discount and two for one vouchers. These will often give you a free entry into theme parks and other attractions.
Picnic with Friends
When the weather is good, a simple picnic with friends and their children can be a treat for both parents and kids. The kids get a chance to run around and play with their friends while the moms and dads can sit and chat while watching them play. For the cost of some sandwiches and snacks, it’s a great day outdoors.
As you can see, the summer holidays and summer vacation don’t have to cost you and your family an absolute fortune. With a little planning and a bit of imagination, you can entertain the kids all summer and still make sure that you have some quality time for yourself.