Family vacations can get expensive quickly, and after saving as much money as possible on transportation, food, and lodging, you might still find that the entertainment and activities you do while on vacation are too much of a drain on your budget. Of course, there are some experiences which are invaluable enough that they’re worth the money spent. But for the rest of the time, cheap but fun entertainment is available if you know where to look. Here are a few ways to fill up your vacation days with fun without emptying your wallet.
When I was younger I took advantage of the free tickets and discounts offered to those participating in a time share presentation. My first Time share perks were in Spain in the early 70's and I have been to a number of presentations over the years. Time share salesmen often give away free and discounted tickets to key tourist attractions and entire vacation packages as a sales strategy. Sure, you will have to sit through a roughly ninety minute sales pitch for vacation real estate you aren't interested in, but if you can stand the pressure, it’s worth it. Rewards aren't based on whether you sign the dotted line, only on your participation in the presentation. I never felt guilty for taking advantage of these free offers and i never bought a time share until I wanted to do so. It’s how these companies do business and promote sales, and you are sacrificing a few hours of your time. You have to be tough and understand the psychology of the pitch or you may be taken advantage of by the sale force.
Fill in the gaps with cheap or free entertainment venues. Entertainment doesn't have to be expensive to be fun. Check local newspapers, websites, tourist booths, and flyers in public locations for interesting and inexpensive events such as free concerts, art shows, competitions, festivals, movies in the park, and more. Libraries, nature centers and museums often host free events specifically designed for children. Go online and find Coupons for the area you are visiting, download or print these for your use.
Get off the beaten tourist trail and explore for yourself. The main drag of tourist destinations are heavily commercialized and designed to get you to spend money, usually on cheap souvenirs that are probably made in China. Getting away from tourist areas will allow you to avoid the temptation to spend money on stuff you don’t need, and also allow you to see the area the way the locals see it. This can give your vacation a more personal feel and allow you to cater to your unique tastes and interests.
Just relax – it’s what vacation is all about. One of the main reasons we go on vacation is to relax and do nothing, but it seems like we end up filling our schedule so tightly that there’s no time to just relax. Leaving room for some down time in your schedule is a great way to not only feel more rested after your vacation, but to save money. Some of the most relaxing activities are entirely free – a stroll by the beach or park, sunbathing by the pool, or a nap in your hotel room.
When weighing the decision of what to spend your time and money while on vacation is to remember that your memories and experiences are what you will carry away with you for years to come, not how much or little was spent. And making memories is both free and priceless.