If you want to figure the best vacation value, you should realize an important fact; the most popular vacation spots are the most expensive, and offer the least value.
Is a slice of pizza really worth $5 at the shore? Is staking out a 4×4 space on a crowded beach really fun? Is it really fun to spend literally thousands of dollars to wait in line… over and over… at an amusement site? If you want to find a good value for a vacation, there are much better alternatives.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
The best vacation value possible is to visit friends or family within a few hours driving distance.
The advantages are clear; you pay nothing for lodging (if they have a small house, you can camp on the floor or bring a tent-a nice adventure for children), you have ready-made guides to local attractions, you can catch up on events face-to-face, and your hosts can show off their latest recipes and snacks.
This seems one-sided, but if they come down to visit you, you get another vacation! Even though you may be working and juggling your activities around their visit, you have the chance to extend your welcome, show them the local sites, have more face-to-face time, and show off YOUR latest recipes and snacks!
The next best vacation value is camping. Not the RV or campground type, but the in-the-woods backpacking type. Sure it takes some work and exercise, but nothing beats an evening around a campfire eating smores after a day walking in the woods. You might not like the expense… it can cost $1000 to outfit a family of four for a vacation in the woods. But how much would it cost to spend a week at a resort or vacation site? Plus, the equipment (tents, packs, sleeping bags, stove) can all be used for future outings.
Doing a vacation-at-home is a cheap vacation, but it is not the best value. You’ll spend your time catching up on household chores and projects, going to familiar places and doing familiar things, and worrying about work. You’ll check your email and work phone even though you have a “vacation” message, and you’ll return to work resigned, rather than revitalized.
CABIN IN THE MOUNTAINS
Another great vacation value is a rented cabin in the mountains. While hordes pay top dollar to flock to the shores, the mountains have become a summertime bargain-fest. Look for swimming spots, fishing, hiking trails, and nearby communities with restaurants and entertainment. Cabins have great perks; they cost far less than resort and shore rentals and they’re far less crowded.
A vacation should be a relaxing break, a chance to enjoy summer weather without the pressure of daily life. If you look for relaxation and value, there are many vacation options that will give you fun without ridiculous cost.
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