School’s out for summer! And, chances are you’re looking for a few fun ways to keep the kids happy over the summer break. Thought a family vacation was out of reach? Worried the recent spike in gas prices will put a dampener on your family road trip plans? Then read on for our top tips for making your next family summer vacation fun and totally frugal.


Try a House Swap
Adventure on a budget? If you’re willing to live like the locals and let someone else enjoy your home, that dream European vacation might be a possibility after all. No longer the preserve of a lucky few well-connected folks, thanks to dedicated house swap web listings, international house swaps are simpler than ever to coordinate. Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona? The choice is yours! Better yet, if you have small pets that need caring for, you can even search for a match who may be willing to feed and watch housecats or other pets and help you reduce pet hotel costs.

Go for Vacation Rentals
Sure a luxury hotel is a fabulous way to enjoy a vacation destination, but a vacation rental can provide the same comfort at a fraction of the price. The secret? Vacation homeowners aren’t always using their weekend homes, in fact often times, they’re also making ends meet by renting out an empty condo, cottage or cabin. And what could be better for a family on a budget than a home away from home with multiple bedrooms and a kitchen for easy, tasty and cheap breakfasts and dinners?

Think Free… and Easy!
Forget expensive theme parks, when it comes to good old family summer fun, the best things in life are free. Grab the sand toys and hit the beach for some sand castle building contests, pack up a yummy picnic and drive out to a scenic spot, or, simply take in some of the local sites. To make every adventure extra special, provide kids with cameras to take pictures or videos and challenge them to create their most exciting summer photo scrapbook or vacation movie montage ever. Instead of credit card bills reminding you of your summer fun, you’ll have a few good old-fashioned photo souvenirs.

Take Off With Friends
For a short getaway, a vacation with another family is a great way to share the price burden, not to mention the fun. With many campgrounds allowing multiple tents on one pitch and vacation rentals accommodating large groups with bunk beds and pullout couches, making your vacation an escape with friends is smart money-saving solution. With enough bikes, balls, toys and board games, kids will enjoy each other’s company without the need for expensive daytrips, while parents can relax and unwind while enjoying some social time. Better yet, couples can even switch off babysitting duty for some date night fun. For the best deals, try off-peak weekends and you could be well on your way to vacationing in style.

Clip Virtual Coupons
You’ve tried all the last minute vacation sites, you’ve checked out the lowest rates on the web and you’ve still not found a vacation getaway that suits your budget. Then it’s time to try a group discount. With many flash sale sites and group discount coupon sites now offering vacation deals, you might just find your next vacation hiding in your email inbox. Or, if you’ve already got your vacation booked and you know your destination, hit up your favorite group discount sites to find deals on days out, local attractions, restaurant meals or even adventurous activities. Think hot air balloon ride. Think boat cruise. Think surfing lessons and you have some of the cool options web discounters have in store. Happy vacationing!