Frugal Tips for Family Day Trips

Family picnic 2008

Summer is a great time to pack everyone into the car for a day trip adventure. You get the chance to get out of the house, see some new things and spend some time together. It’s almost like taking a holiday but without the cost.

In spite of the fact that day trips are far more affordable than true holidays, they can get pricey if you aren’t careful about your spending. Admission to amusement parks and museums, the cost of food throughout the day and the tendency to buy things on impulse when you’re away from home are all reasons that you might spend too much money on a day trip.

Follow these tips for keeping your day trips affordable:

  • Plan the day in advance. Advance planning can significantly reduce the cost of day trips. In particular, you want to plan the activities for the day. This will allow you to look for discounts and deals on those activities. Reduced admission days, travel coupons and discounts for card members (such as AA members) are all deals that are possible to get if you look for them.
  • Enjoy free activities. Even better than getting discounts is avoiding costs all together. Families who enjoy off-the-beaten path activities can save a lot on day trip costs. Find adventure in going to a small out-of-the way nature reserve instead of the big National park or in checking out the local free movie night instead of going to a major tourist attraction.
  • Pack your own lunch. Spending money on food during a day trip is an unwise expense. Instead, make it a picnic and pack your own lunch. Remember to pack enough drinks and snacks to last through the entire day. If you want to indulge in a treat when you’re on the road then get something inexpensive like ice creams or chocolate bars.
  • Do something that can save you money. There are a few fun day trip activities that can actually save you money on your overall budget. For example, you may want to spend a portion of the day at a “pick your own” farm where you can pick your own affordable groceries to take home for the week.
  • Take photos instead of buying souvenirs. Avoid spending money and cluttering up your house with the things that you don’t need. Make a rule not to buy anything and take pictures home instead.

Be smart when spending on day trips. They don’t have to be expensive. The less money that you spend on each one, the more of them you’ll be able to take this summer!

Guest post by Kathryn Vercillo. Kathryn is a writer for which gives away free promotion code deals (like this Comet promotional code) and also publishes money saving ideas.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tim Somero

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