Affordable Spring Break

Many museums are part of a reciprocal membership program. If you have a membership at a similar museum in another state, you may get in free or at a reduced price. Photo credit: Sue Rodman, TravelingMom with Teens

It’s never too early to start planning for spring break. The week long vacation is always a welcome break after the long winter months. Skiing is a favorite choice for many families, while others choose the Caribbean to escape the cold. Yet for many, spring break locations come down to dollars and cents, which means either they find a great deal on a trip, or create a family staycation. Here are some ideas on how keep spring break affordable and fun for everyone.

Save Money on Activities: To find those activities, ask attractions you’d like to visit if they have free days or hours. Many times they’ll advertise this on their website where they discuss admission. Take inventory of memberships you have in your own city. Many museums and attractions have reciprocal memberships, which means if you are a member in one city, you get in free or at a reduced rate in another. Finally, don’t assume big admission fees mean big fun. Some of our favorite field trips have been to state or national parks. Admission is inexpensive and if you plan to visit several, consider the year pass.

Involve Kids in the Planning: First, ask. Find out what the kids would like to do or give them some choices. I like to think about what my kids are excited about and try to incorporate that into a vacation. One summer my son was reading the Percy Jackson book series. We decided to do a Percy Jackson tour of NYC. That led me to put together a Percy Jackson tour of Atlanta too. It’s been fun to try to find experiences that correlate to the books and prompted several discussions with my son about the series, characters and places they’d visit.

Create Memories and don’t sweat the problems. One July I planned a camping trip in South Georgia. The bugs were so bad my youngest didn’t want to get out of the car. We did have a great time finding tadpoles, learning about the gopher tortoise and getting to see a baby bobcat. However, we still laugh about the bugs and when we go back, we’ll do it in the wintertime. Sometimes the most memorable adventures are the misadventures.

Find Local Blogs: Find local blogs, like Field Trips with Sue and those of other Traveling Moms and follow them for the inside scoop on an area you’d like to visit. Blogs and social media have made it much easier to plan a trip. There’s always someone who has been there before that can offer advice, or even be there to answer a question. I like seeing real family photographs rather than just the publicity shots on a location’s website. Plus a lot of times locals have done some of the more hidden adventures that tend to be the most fun.