It’s amazing how things change when you have kids. Before kids, weekend getaways and trips were fairly easy. When we needed to take a break, I remember we could look at the calendar and twenty minutes later, have a few dates to run by work for time off. Even the destinations would already be top of mind and after looking for deals on travel sites and asking around, we’d settle with whatever had the best price. Pretty easy.
Fast forward a few years and now we’re parents of an eight-year-old and a four-year-old.
Those first few years with our little ones were honestly rough. We’re trying to coordinate between two jobs and one school schedule. It was tough finding the perfect time to take a week or so off. Once we had our dates, we’d then have to make sure that we could find a deal. Thankfully, we’ve gotten a little bit wiser. We found our footing and came up with our little system for timing our vacations and snagging some good savings. We’ve also found some spots that allow us to unwind without breaking the budget.
Affordable Family Vacations to Take This Fall
While school is back in season, that doesn’t mean you have to write off the rest of the year. You still have time to take one last getaway to recharge your battery, have some fun, and connect as a family.
To make things easy for you, I want to share a few of our favorite spots that both we and the kids enjoyed. The cherry on top? They’re also affordable spots!
Daytona Beach, Florida
If you’re looking to escape and have some beach time, then Florida is the way to go. However, staying in Orlando is not on the list if you’re looking for a chance to relax and actually save money. Instead, soak up some beach time before the weather gets too cold and hang out for a bit in Daytona Beach.
When we did our trip last October in Florida, it couldn’t have been more perfect. The weather was still warm, the large crowds of tourists were gone (along with the overpriced hotels), and there were plenty of things to do around.
Racing fans can enjoy the Daytona International Speedway or if you’re in the mood for stars, you can head over to MOA’s planetarium. And if your kids really want to visit the Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios, you can make it a more affordable day trip rather than blow your budget by spending your whole time there. We once went to Universal right after Thanksgiving and were able to skip waiting in line because it was so quiet.
Charleston, South Carolina
We took trips to Charleston for the last few Decembers and I have to say, we’ve enjoyed every one. While the temperatures have cooled down a bit, making beach time minimal, we still managed to be out and about. Throw on a jacket, wear your fall layers, and you’re all set to hit the town and enjoy some history and food.
You have to visit The Tavern at Rainbow Row. Besides being the oldest liquor store in the country, the vibe there is incredible. It’s small, but the selection is wide. Want to have an incredible lunch that’s still cheap? Try out The Blind Tiger. The truffle duck, bourbon bread pudding, buffalo cheese curds are delicious.
Asheville, North Carolina
One of our favorite low-key trips we’ve taken was a camping adventure with some friends just outside of Asheville. Being able to see the mountains shift into autumn colors was incredible. If you’re a photographer or love being outdoors, you have to take a trip here. It’s so peaceful and the views are amazing. For the parents, Asheville is the hot spot for fantastic food and a wide array of awesome breweries.
After spending your days enjoying the parks and maybe getting some tubing in, treat yourself and the kids to Double D’s Coffee and Dessert. It’s a cool double-decker bus in the city that’s also nearby Wicked Weed brewery.
Tuxedo, New York
If you absolutely love New York City but also relish some peace and relaxation that a more rural spot gives, then you should check out some of the small towns upstate.
I may be a little biased since I lived here for a few years, but fall is pretty much the best time to visit. You can truly have the best of both worlds with renting a spot in a town just outside the city. The Metro-North Railroad means you can take a train to New York City, allowing you to enjoy a scenic ride and skip put on the nightmare of driving in Manhattan.
Have your day trips to shop, visit the museums, and explore some of the best restaurants. You can then head back to your affordable getaway spot and enjoy some of the local events including celebrating autumn with exquisite apple cider.
Saving Up for Family Trips
While you hunt for the deals, you can start now saving up for your trip. You can create a vacation fund as separate savings to keep you motivated.
Using a tool like Mint makes it easy to track your progress and help you find ways to trim your budget a smidge so you have more money for fun during your trip. Knowing our money leaks allowed us to try some fun monthly challenges to sock away an extra couple hundred dollars. Keep your vacations debt-free also means there’s less stress as you don’t have to worry about a bill afterward. Double win in my book!
If you’re looking for tips, please check out my post on how to shift gears and become a savvy saver. It’s much easier than you think and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish in one month.
Your Take on Family Getaways
Wherever you go, I hope you have a wonderful time together. Now that you know my favorites, I’d love to hear about your spots. What have been some of your best vacations together?