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Do you believe that fabulous vacations are only for the rich and famous? Do you feel that awesome trips only happen if you jet off to some exotic location on the other side of the world? Well, think again! Great vacations can happen anywhere on any budget. I’m not rich (or famous) by any means, but my family has been able to take some truly memorable vacations during the last 15 years. I’ve learned over time that it’s not the location that matters as much as the perspective. Keep reading to learn my tips to help you take amazing vacations on any budget.
Tip #1: Do your research.
Even if you do nothing else, following this tip alone will drastically improve your vacations. I promise, this is a total game-changer when it comes to traveling. And it won’t cost you a dime! Simply research your trips before you leave home!
When my husband and I started traveling together, I never researched trips. I simply booked our flight and hotel and took off. And on every trip, we would hit a snag that cost us time and/or money. Many times, these bumps in the road led to arguments, which really put a damper on our travels. Over time, I learned that with a little research before the trip, I could improve our vacations tremendously. Nowadays, I don’t leave home without doing my research.
To take your vacations from good to amazing, do some research beforehand. Read restaurant reviews. Look at operating hours and admission costs of activities. Search online for discounts. Check out the weather forecast for your trip. Examine a map and find out how long it will take you to get from place to place. Will you need a rental car or can you use public transportation? Is there an alternative, yet super cool, method of getting from point A to point B that can enhance your experience? Find some off-the-beaten-path places that are cool and uncrowded. A little bit of research can make all the difference!
Tip #2: Splurge on one thing.
Regardless of your destination, you can make your trip even more amazing by splurging on one thing. This could be upgrading to first class seats on the flight or paying for an ocean view instead of a standard hotel room. If your budget is tight, splurge on something smaller like dessert or a nice meal during your trip. A splurge will give your trip that special quality to take it from ordinary to wonderful.
Tip #3: Plan at least one surprise.
Travel is always better when everyone enjoys the trip. To up the fun factor for your family, plan at least one surprise for them. Make a reservation at a restaurant your husband will love. Buy tickets to see your son’s favorite team play a road game. Arrange for your daughter to get an up close encounter with penguins at a zoo. By planning surprises for your family, you will enhance their experiences and memories of trips. This can help you take amazing vacations, even when staying close to home.
Tip #4: Try something new.
Another easy way to improve your travels is to try something new. This tip is especially helpful in improving your trips when you are returning to a destination that you have been to before. Eat at a new restaurant. Stay at a different hotel. Take a tour that you haven’t done before. Trying something new will keep the location fresh and exciting for your family.
But, trying something new isn’t just for freshening up the same old annual trip. It can elevate your vacations when you are going to a brand new destination too. Stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something you’ve never done before can liven up the feel of your travels. It creates a sense of adventure that has been missing from previous trips. If your vacations typically involve lying on a beach for a week, try planning an off-road Jeep excursion during your next trip. If you generally travel to cities, take a hiking trip to a national park.
When we are traveling, I get my family out of the box every chance I get. And almost every time, it ends up being the highlight of the trip. Amazing vacations happen when we are adventurous enough to step outside of our comfort zone.
Tip #5: Focus on the positive.
Taking amazing vacations is about perspective, not location. Your trips will never be awesome if you are always paying attention to the negative aspects of them. By focusing on the positive, you will automatically improve your view of your family’s trip. So what if you were late to your dinner reservation because your tour took longer than expected? If you and your family had a blast on the tour, then it was worth the extra time! There are going to be some bumps along the way when you travel. No trip is perfect. When we stop dwelling on those hiccups and start focusing on the good stuff, we realize that spending quality time with our loved ones while traveling is the definition of amazing vacations. Read these tips to help you stay positive when things go wrong on your trip.
Tip #6: Enjoy your family.
This goes hand in hand with Tip #5. Yes, your kids are going to want to spend all their time on a screen. Yes, your husband is going to grumble about the traffic. Travel can change us, but it doesn’t happen instantly. Instead of nagging them, relax and let the adventures unfold naturally. Let the fun start with you. Just enjoy your family and the time you get to spend with them. The transformation from ordinary to amazing vacations will happen right before your eyes.
Tip #7: Be brave enough to take the trip of your dreams.
Many times, we don’t have amazing vacations because we don’t believe that we can afford it. And sometimes, we don’t take the trips we dream of because we are scared of the unknown. I know there was a time when I was too scared to travel internationally, even though I really wanted to. The truth is, that usually, our fears are completely unfounded. If you set your mind to it, you can usually find a way to take those vacations that live in your head. To have awesome vacations, you have to be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and reach for the stars.
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Amazing vacations are not just for the rich and famous. Unbelievable trips can happen on any budget. Do your research. Splurge a little, plan a surprise, and try something new on your trip. Focus on the positive and enjoy your family. With these simple tips, you can transform your family vacations from good to fabulous. For more ways to improve your vacations, see my practical tips for saving for vacations, how to take a vacation when you can’t afford it, how to travel stress free with your spouse, and how to avoid child meltdowns while traveling. For help staying closer to home, see how to plan the perfect staycation. Enjoy your next amazing vacation! Do you have other tips for taking amazing vacations? If so, leave it in the comments. Happy travels!
P.S. Don’t miss your chance to get our FREE work sheet that will take your dream trip from your bucket list to “been there, done that.” See the box below for details!