10 Budget Family Summer Vacation Ideas

It goes without saying that 2020 has not been the easiest year for families. Worldwide lockdowns have forced parents and their children to spend more time together than ever before.

However, the stresses and strains of being together don’t always translate into quality family time. As a result, it could be a good idea to get a change of scenery this summer if your local regulations permit these vacation ideas.   

The difficulty is with many of us having to tighten our belts since March, families may be reluctant to spend money on fancy resorts or all-inclusive vacations. However, your family can still have a fun-packed summer vacation on a small budget.

So here are 10 super-budget-friendly family summer vacation ideas for 2020:

RV Camping

RV camping allows you and your family to explore the country while also adhering to social distancing. An RV has all the hallmarks of a hotel at a fraction of the price. Camper FAQs help make RV camping and renting easier than one can imagine. You can cook, sleep, and even go to the bathroom, all while navigating interesting destinations.

Before you worry, will my family be comfortable in an RV? Absolutely! Having a good sleep is very important on such trips. There is nothing difficult in choosing a comfortable mattress for an RV. We recommend drawing attention to RV bunk mattresses. They are more comfortable, but only a model up to twelve inches tall can fit the RV. Make sure you use the best quality RV bunk mattresses for a comfortable night’s sleep and allow plenty of time for roadside stops where everyone can get some exercise (and space away from one another!) before settling in for the night.

If you don’t own your own RV, you can rent an RV for as little as $50 a night! Check out this RV rental guide to learn more about your rental options.

With many countries opening back up, many natural wonders are reopening and welcoming campers. For example, in the US the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park reopened in May. What better way to get away from all the hustle and bustle than to visit one of the world’s seven natural wonders? 

Family Summer Camping

If you’re feeling adventurous, ditch the RV and pitch a tent. In any ‘normal year,’ a lot of children would be packing for their first summer camp or scout camp. However, a lot of these have had to be canceled or postponed. 

If your child falls into this category or you just enjoy sleeping under the stars, a family summer camp might be the next best option. You can involve your children in the process by drawing up the perfect summer camp packing list together. However, make sure you sign off on the list. Otherwise, you may only end up with s’mores ingredients!

Of course, a camping trip is only as fun as the activities you plan on doing when you’re there, so plan some camp activities that will keep your children entertained and away from their screens.  

Beach camping in the UAE

Don’t miss our guide to camping gifts for outdoor-loving kids.

Get Up Close With Wildlife

Why not visit a wildlife preserve that’s not too far from home where you can get face-to-face with nature and wildlife?

Eco-Resorts get you and your family up close and personal with animals such as horses, cows, pigs, and sheep. If you don’t want to spend too much time amongst animals, you could visit a drive-through safari. This allows you to see animals in their natural habitat without getting your hands dirty.

National Parks

We’ve already briefly touched on this, but there are plenty of vacation options that many countries’ national parks offer. Furthermore, they’re either free or really aren’t that expensive. For example, in the US you can visit unlimited national parks with a year-long pass at a meager $80.

Did you know that you can enter US National Parks for FREE if you have a 4th Grader? US families, learn more about Every Kid Outdoors here.

The great thing about national parks is the huge variety of choices, from easy walking trails, to rock climbing and water sports. If you’re worried about crowds and saving money, it’s recommended you visit on a weekday and seek accommodations outside of the parks. 

Boating Trip

If your family wants to cool off this summer, you can rent a boat and spend your vacation swimming in a lake. This kind of vacation is super relaxing for parents needing to reset after a truly stressful year. In addition, most boat resorts are packed with activities to keep your children occupied. 

Although this may not be the cheapest option, it may be one of the most relaxing on the list. A family lake vacation might be just what your family needs this summer.

Inner State Travel

How well do you know your state (or those outside the US, your country/region)? If the answer is not very well, it’s a good idea to educate yourself and your children about where you live by visiting parts of your state you’ve never been to before. 

This is not only budget-friendly but also guards against being caught overseas if an emergency happens (and in 2020, anything is possible!). With attractions slowly opening up again, there may be towns, parks, museums, and monuments right on your doorstep that you’ve never considered. 

Sit down with your family and plan your ideal trip within your own state!

Book Super Last Minute

If you’re looking for a super special family vacation on a dime, this is always a tried and true way to save money. 

In previous years, it may have been difficult for families to drop everything and roll the dice on a last-minute booking. However, with plans being largely up in the air throughout 2020, this may be the opportune moment to find a last-minute deal for your family that may normally be out of price range. 

Check out these great ideas for taking a beach break on a budget.

Housesit for another family

Want a change of scenery from your own home but don’t necessarily have the budget to book a hotel, boat, or an RV? You could look into housesitting for another family. 

This is a little outside of the box as you would have to find a family that would be comfortable with a whole family looking after their property – but it’s doable. For example, you could swap homes with another family you know.

While this is by no means a week on a white sandy beach, it allows you and your family a break in your routine, a change of scenery, and a valuable chance to reconnect and recharge. 

Have a sleepover

If you’re not ready to look after someone else’s home, why not arrange a family sleepover at a friend’s house? Ideally, you would do this with friends who have children of similar age to your own. 

Schools shutting down have meant that children have been unable to interact with kids their own age and their friends. Moreover, with you working remotely or simply not working, you could probably do with some adult company, too. 

As a result, this could be just what your family needs. While it might not be the most relaxing ‘vacation’, it certainly won’t be dull! Just make sure you’ve checked you’ve double-checked your sleepover packing list, so you have all the essentials and also all guidelines regarding COVID-19 for safety.

Pack the sleepover essentials!

Virtual Vacation

There’s the possibility that you simply can’t afford to take a vacation this year or are too concerned about COVID-19. This is where a virtual vacation comes in handy. 

These have become almost as popular as Zoom quizzes during lockdown. On a virtual vacation, you can visit different monuments online, cook meals based on the country’s cuisine, and maybe speak in a little bit of the native tongue. 

It’s not strictly a vacation, but it’s a way of broadening your family’s understanding of different cultures and creatively slipping in some extra homeschooling into your children’s day-to-day. 

Like most things in 2020, vacations will be slightly different than the norm.

That being said, by following some of the ideas in this article – whether it’s visiting a national park, camping, or sleepover exchanges – you will still be able to have a super-fun, super-budget family vacation this summer. 

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