Today's little day trip got me to thinking about how vacation time is coming up, and with gas prices rising and vacations becoming more expensive, there are actual ways to discover new places without spending a ton of money.
One way to save major money is to have a "stay-cation" (I know, that word shouldn't be used anymore.). Instead of planning trips to another country or some really expensive resort, spend the day taking a trip around your state. Since Texas is a huge state, we plan on taking small day trips through out the year to off-beat road attractions and places we want to see. Depending on where you live, be prepared to have at least $100 on hand for gas, food, or admission fees (especially if you're going to a museum or state park). To save even more money, pack a cooler with prepared food so that you don't have to shell out money for fast food or expensive convenience store snacks.
If there isn't a specific place you'd like to visit but want to get out our town for a while, pack up some snacks and take a drive. You never know where you'll end up. The only thing you'll pay for is gas!
I live in a somewhat big city and believe it or not, there are museums and places I haven't been yet. If that's the case for your family, spend the day being a "tourist" in your own city. Go to that museum you have been dying to visit, or even spend time at another park. You aren't really spending a lot (Except that admission charge to the museum...) and snacks are just a few miles away at home!
Okay, so you want to go out of state. You can save money on gas by making sure your tires are properly inflated and that your air filter is clean. Also, take a map so you don't waste gas going around in circles 10 times. Unless you just really want a cheeseburger on the way, once again, take your own snacks in a cooler with water or other drinks. If you're going to an amusement park or a special museum, check online to see if there are any special deals or coupons available. Don't be afraid to contact the place ahead of time to see if there will be any specials going on during your visit.
No matter where you go by car, be sure to keep a steady pace. Constant speeding or slowing down can cause you to waste more gas. And did you know that your car gets better gas mileage on the highway/interstate than in the city?
I don't know anything about actual vacations, so I wouldn't know how to save money. But since my family loves to explore Central Texas, we sure know a lot about those dreaded "stay-cations"!