When financial supply starts to dry up our summer vacations are the first luxuries to be cut out of our budget. With the economic recession in full swing this is what families all over the US are deciding to do, so we've compiled a few ways to entertain your family for the summer, without having to jet off.
Firstly (if you haven't done it already) spring clean your home when summer starts. Not only does this give you a nice clean home that you'll be happy to be spending more time in, but it also brings up old memories of past outings, hobbies and activities that you've completely forgotten about. Make a pile, or a list of ideas for things to do that summer that you haven't done in years. Rather than having a vacation you might choose to spend half the money redecorating your home; a project which could take the whole season.
Secondly, don't dismiss ideas of things to do when they come in. Instead, write them down in the back of your diary throughout the year, even if they're things suggested by your kids that you think you could never afford or travel to. In time alternatives might be available.
Don't forget to simply look around you. Do you live just outside a big city? Visit it! If you're just two hours from the sea have a day trip to the beach. If you live in the valley of some mountains then spend the day hiking and camp overnight. All these things cost just a fraction of an exotic vacation, but with all the thrill of going away. You could even make the day feel more special by getting up when it's still dark for that 'we're going on vacation' feeling. Keep your eyes peeled for vouchers for theme parks and family days out throughout the year. Companies give these out during 'dry spells' in an attempt to bump up numbers when they're really needed, but save them until summer (providing they don't go out of date) and you'll be saving money even when the weather and atmosphere is at its best too.
Why not take this year off from your annual vacation to go and visit relatives? Chances are you or your partner will have some that have offered or asked you to go and stay for a weekend or even a week. This could still very much feel like a proper vacation, but without food and accommodation costs, or the time it takes to book! Do some research before you go, to see what you'd like to visit and do that's nearby. If you've got an itinerary clearly set out before you arrive then there's less chance of relatives dragging you round boring exhibits, telling you everything they know about them.
It might be tempting to use your vacation time to do something productive and really get things done throughout summer, but this can soon get old. To avoid suffering from burnout in early winter, make sure you give yourself plenty of breaks while the time calls for it, even if that is simply sitting out in the sun for a couple of hours.