In 2008, FTF’s Top 10 Cheap Getaways for Family Travelers were selected for the great value they offered to families who desired to travel on a budget. FTF staff examined the value proposition offered by cruise, resort, ski, hotel, reunion and camp destinations to select the winners during the 2008 economic downturn.
Granted, 50% off the usual rates and the occasional one-night free are great offers, especially when finding them at luxury resorts. But for family vacationers looking for the best consistent value and bang for their wallet-weary bucks, FTF chose these vacations that will be a good value during and after this economic downturn. It’s years later and wallet-friendly vacation ideas are always welcome.
Family Travel Forum’s Top 10 (Cheap) Getaways for Family Travelers
Waiting all year for the snow to fall and hoping for a cheap family vacation? FTF staff crunched lots of numbers, snow-making statistics and weather reports to discover that a family of four can have great ski conditions for cheap on either side of the country. One of the top ski destinations in the US, Lake Tahoe, has over seven premier ski resorts. In 2008, savvy families could find off-the-beaten-path accommodations, equipment rentals and lift tickets there starting at under $2,000/week; and the same in the Western Mountains of New Hampshire.
No Top (Cheap) Getaway list should be without tropical beaches. FTF’s Top Cruise pick was Carnival and its flagship, Carnival Freedom. Sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Freedom visits Key West, Grand Cayman and Jamaica while providing non-stop fun, food and imaginative programming. For a value all-inclusive, the Divi Caribbean Resort’s Tamarijn Aruba offered kids under 18 sharing parents’ room a free stay all year round, with rates including everything, from meals, booze, and kids clubs to activities, services and amenities.
Whether a vacationing family is savoring falling gas prices for a trek across America or using the rising exchange rates to justify a once in a lifetime tour of Great Britain, there are cheap hotel options. In the US, the expanding chain Candlewood Suites, offers accommodations with full kitchens, as well as free laundry and a 24/7 store on the premise, and most hotels have an outdoor BBQ and a pool. The largest hotel chain in the UK, Premier Inn, with 500 hotels in Great Britain, had weekly rates starting at $525 for a family of four. Plus they offer a good night sleep guarantee where, if a family is not happy, the night is on them.
The ultra luxe spa crowd can go green and cut back in a way the kids will appreciate at FTF’s picks for Top (Cheap) Campgrounds. In North America, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp-Resorts, with over 80 sites in the US and Canada, had rates 20-30% cheaper than its competitors, Across the pond, Eurocamp, the chic way to live off the land at over 150 locations, offered junior tents starting at only $168/week for a family of four. There is no sacrifice associated with bare-bone prices, as many of these retreats offer organized activities, kids clubs, a selection of cottage rentals, recreation facilities and even waterparks.
Dreaming of seeing the entire clan together at the best beach in the country? This might sound too good to be true, but not with our Top (Cheap) Reunion Getaways. Head to the gorgeous Crystal Coast, North Carolina, where renting a sprawling beach house (that sleeps up to 15) was 50% cheaper than in the better known northern Outer Banks. A 103-acre California State Park on the Monterrey coast boasts the Asilomar Conference Grounds, where reunion group rates includes hotel services, meals and activities, plus all taxes and fees, so there are no surprise charges.
Yes You Can Take A Vacation
These are not funky, on-sale vacations! Wanting to find places that are always affordable, FTF editors researched diligently to find what budget-conscious family planners need: an excellent vacation that won’t break the bank but also won’t disappoint with lackluster accommodations, services and amenities. Especially during times of economic uncertainty, if a family is going to spend its hard earned cash on a vacation, it better be one that satisfies.
To the Great Depression survivor who says that no one should vacation during a recession, here is some food for thought. As Americans, it is our responsibility to vacation. Who needs a federal stimulus package when citizens can strengthen the economy through travel and tourism, an industry that employs more than 12% of American workers and is responsible for more than $700 billion in spending? As travel continues to spur economic growth, we thank you in advance for taking a family vacation.
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