Summer is just around the corner and single, money-strapped parents are stressing out over the kid’s vacation plans. What’s a single parent on a limited budget to do? The answer is simple, fun and cheap. The all-American camping trip is the answer to your prayers. Want to spend your time at the beach, the lake, the mountains, near kid-friendly attractions, but fear you can’t afford it? Follow these easy tips and you’ll be on your way to a vacation the kids will remember forever:
1. Go to a National Park or State Campground
Federal and state campgrounds are the best choice for value and free programs for kids. If you can afford a little more, try a private campground which will offer a swimming pool and laundry facilities on-site. But, for value, you can’t beat the public campgrounds. Forget the pool! Pick a campground with a lake or beside the ocean. The kids will remember their natural surroundings, not a chlorine-filled pool. Choose a beautiful, natural setting with fresh, clean air and free guided explorations or programs. The National Park System has great family-friendly programs. Pick up the schedules and reservation information when you check in with the Rangers. The Junior Ranger Program in the National Park System is a perfect, guide-sheet for the harried single parent. Sign them up when you get there.
2. Plan and book early.
Book early. The popular vacation times fill up quickly. Begin planning your camping adventure in January. Involve the kids! Have them help you research what they would like to see and do. Do they want a sea-side adventure? There are campgrounds right on the beach. Do they want a mountain experience? The possibilities are endless. A credit card is not needed. You can book by web-site or phone and send a check or money order to reserve your place. WWW.RESERVEAMERICA.COM is the web-site for national, state and private park reservations. This site has oodles of information to help you plan your trip. There are links for anything you need as you plan your camping adventure.
3. Travel to a nearby state.
Nothing gets kids more excited that leaving their home-state for another. They want to be able to tell their friends that they are going somewhere new and exciting. So, even if it might be easier to camp in your own state, consider driving to another. Renew your AAA membership in case of a flat tire or locked car on the road. If you don’t have a cell phone, buy a pay-as-you-go