8 Summer Family Adventures On A Budget
8 Summer Family Adventures On A Budget Summer is the time of year many families look forward to the most; school’s out, vacations are booked, and new memories are made. Unfortunately there is a slight downside to all this excitement; you’re spending more money that you usually would. While you can’t put a price on the family days out, you don’t want to put yourself in a tight financial situation once the light of the summer is over. Fortunately, there are many ways to give your kids a vacation full of adventure without breaking the bank. Make sure you have your camera ready.
It’s tough to take the family abroad in the middle of summer because this is usually when prices are at their highest. However, there are ways you can make a few savings here and there so you can introduce your children to the joys to travel. Flights tend to be more expensive from Friday to Sunday because most people want to make the most of the weekend in a foreign country. Since you have the whole summer holiday to choose from, try to book a flight that leaves in the middle of the week to save a few dollars. You can also save if you aim to travel the week before the kids go back to school, as this is when prices might start to drop. Websites such as Skyscanner can help you compare flight prices across a whole month so you’ll know the cheapest days to fly, saving you a potential packet. It’s also worth noting that you can save money the further you book in advance. Going all-inclusive on your holiday can save you a lot of money, especially if you take full advantage of the breakfast buffets and the hotel swimming pool. Spanish destinations such as Majorca and Tenerife, or Algarve in Portugal, are always a hit with families, so these are good places to start looking for an all-inclusive vacation.
You don’t need to take the family abroad to travel and discover new places. Sure, the idea of spending days on end in a car with screaming children might not sound appealing at first, but the benefits far outweigh the hassle. Loading the family into the car saves you so much money on flights, and you can take breaks whenever you want. If the kids start getting a bit restless, just exit into the nearest town, stretch your legs by exploring the nearby area, and take the time to restock your supplies. Even though you now have a fancy sat nav telling you where you are, you can still get the kids involved in the journey planning by appointing them as the official navigators for the trip. You don’t have to plan a route from scratch either; many families have successfully completed road trips and have their own recommendations to help you narrow your options. If you have family living in another part of the country, this is a great way to surprise them and reconnect for a few days.
The outside world can be just as fun and stimulating as a games console. If the weather forecast looks promising, you could take the kids camping for a few days and introduce them to some of the activities you did with your parents when you were their age. Brush up on some simple survival skills and teach them how to survive in the wild, introduce them to the simple thrill of climbing trees, see who can spot the most species of birds, and in the evening you can show them how to make perfect smores over the campfire. Not only does this experience get everyone out of their comfort zone and encourage the kids to work together to put up the tent and start a fire, but it will help them appreciate the things they take for granted at home; hot showers and indoor plumbing seems like a luxury after a weekend in the woods. Most importantly, however, spending time outdoors will teach children how to respect nature and the environment.
Mini shopping spree
Even though it’s summer, you still have your own errands to complete. Although the children may groan with boredom after an hour or two at the mall, you could keep them distracted from their boredom by making it an educational experience. Giving the kids their own spending limit will teach them a little financial responsibility, and encourage them to practice their basic math skills. While they stick to a designated area, under the watchful eye of another adult, you can run your own errands, perhaps using some discounts from Coupon Sherpa so you have some funds left over for the next part of the outing. At the end of the day, if they’ve stuck to their budgets and been generally well-behaved, surprise the kids with a treat of your own, such as a movie, lunch at their choice of restaurant, or a small bag of candy. If you manage to keep them out with you for most of the day, then this also counts as good exercise.
Despite your best efforts to get your kids out of the house and away from all electronic devices, there might be days when the weather has other ideas. Fortunately, you can still find ways to keep the kids busy without the lure of technology. Organize a laser maze for them in the corridors, the living room, or at least in places where they won’t be in the way. All you need to make this happen is some crepe paper (ideally red, or some other colour that looks like a laser), and some masking tape. Stick the strands in a corridor and tell them to work their way to the grand prize. This could either be a treat of some sort, or the control to the TV if you’re feeling particularly nefarious.
Rainy days are also a great time to keep the kids occupied by teaching them how to cook. As an added bonus, kids are more likely to eat what they make, so even if you set up an entirely vegetarian pizza station, they will load it with veggies and eat every bite. Your options are endless; you can have them help you make the family’s favorite dinner, you can choose a new recipe to try together, or you can teach them how to make a really easy dish so they can begin building their cooking skills. If you have them help you with dinner, be sure to compliment them on their contribution and watch their little faces light up with pride.
Children and adults alike can take part in the a game of badminton, soccer, or volleyball in an effort to win a trophy. Adults can play with a handicap to even the playing field for younger children, but everyone will have fun in the comfort of your backyard. All the adults could also take turns encouraging a future Tiger Woods to practice their swing, or introduce a new generation to an old game. Once the tournament is over, hand out trophies and celebrate with healthy snacks. If your garden isn’t big enough to host all the games, then plan a series of indoor activities to keep the competition alive, but without causing any damage to your walls and furniture.
If you’ve been trying to find a way to motivate yourself to do more exercise, there is no bigger encouragement than your children; not just because you want to be healthy, but because they will drive you crazy when they start climbing the walls with boredom and the only solution is to get everyone out of the house. If you have fairly young children, take them to the park and actually play with them; run around to catch them on the slide, push them on the swings, or try getting involved in their game of tag. With slightly older kids, organize fun family days out on weekends. This could involve getting everyone on their bikes and riding down the coast before stopping for a healthy picnic, getting out the water pistols and having an all-out war, or checking your local area and see if there are any events that will get them walking. If you show your children the value of getting out of the house and having a good time, they may never catch on that you’re doing this for the exercise.
When no one has to get up early for school, family nights can become even more exciting. Start in the late afternoon with a pizza making station so they can help you make a delicious and healthy dinner. While the pizzas are cooking in the oven, get the youngest to pick out a movie and see how long everyone can sit still while it plays. After dinner, the fun can really begin. Make a list of family games you can play, then finish off with some hot cocoa before bed.