While many of our friends are planning trips to the beach and Disney World, we’re planning more of a “staycation summer” at our house because we’re trying to save money to take that first big Disney World trip next summer. We will indeed spend plenty of time at our cabin in Wisconsin like we do every year, but we’re hoping to do other fun things with our boys as well.
If a “staycation summer” is what you’re looking into this summer, here are a few of my ideas for you.
- Pool passes. This is our first summer to buy passes to our community pool. In the past, we’ve been able to use our neighbors’ pool, but they’ve moved at I’m not about to spend another summer without a pool! While the initial purchase cost us around $150, I figure we’ll get our money’s worth in just a few weeks of using. Buying a pool pass can be a great way to have a lot of fun with your kids all summer.
- Pick a Park. Pack a picnic lunch, bring the camera, load up the kids, and try out a new park in the area. At the beginning of summer break, have your kids help you make a list of the parks in the area you’d like to visit. Pick a new park to visit each week and cross them off your list at the end of the day.
- Take Them Out to the Ballgame. Taking your kids to a Major League Baseball game can quickly make a dent in your summer travel budget by the time you buy tickets, pay for parking, and feed everyone. Have you thought of checking out a Minor League baseball team for a fraction of the cost? Tickets to our local team’s game start at $10 per seat, and they have a lot of promotional games too.
- Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, for free? Oh My! Take a day trip to your local zoo. Two of the zoos in our area have free admission, and another has specific “free” days throughout the summer. You may also want to consider getting a membership to your local zoo if you’ll use the pass enough. We received a pass to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago for Christmas, and we figure we’ll have it paid for by going only two times this summer. (I’m sure we’ll use it more though!)
- Visit a Museum or Two. Check out your favorite museum’s website (or perhaps one you’ve wanted to visit) for discounted or free admission days. Museums are a great way for your kids to learn without even realizing it!
- Enjoy Your Kids. Some of our best days are days we just hang out at home as a family. Whether we’re playing basketball in the garage or baseball in the backyard, the important thing is being able to spend time together as a family. Your kids don’t care if every minute of the summer is spent going from one activity to another, they just want to spend time with you: their parents.
Once you’ve decided what kind of “staycation summer” activities you’ll do with your family be think about other ways to save money on those activities.
- Pack a lunch and snacks. You’ll save a lot of money by having a picnic lunch at places that allow it. My kids think it’s a big deal to get to bring their own lunch boxes!
- Sign up for Groupon or Living Social notifications. We recently purchased one for $14 at a Children’s Museum. Without the Groupon, it would have cost us almost $40.
- Buy admission tickets online if possible. Sometimes you’ll get a discount for purchasing ahead.
- Go as a Group. Sometimes planning a trip with as few as 10 people can get you discounted admission.
Before you know it, summer will come to an end and it will be time to school shop and send your kids back to school. Summer fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune; pick a few staycation ideas and have fun with your kids this summer!