As the evenings warm up and the remaining days of school count down, it’s time to turn our attention to another glorious summer ahead! However, rather than focus on productive summertime projects (heaven forbid!), my mind is steering more towards fabulous getaways that your family will love and won’t break the bank! I have to be honest, I really didn’t originally see myself doing a Column on this. Then, during last week’s Show I received a call from a listener who admitted to me she was maxed out on her credit cards, her household is living paycheck to paycheck, and she was asking me for advice on how to swing a trip to Disney this year! Um, what? Don’t get me wrong, I adore Disneyland, Disneyworld, Disney movies, and all other things Disney. However, if the budget doesn’t allow wiggle room for a trip of Mickey-magnitude, that’s just the way it is. With that in mind, I put out the word to DLN Readers, asking for fabulous input and their ideas on super-fun-yet-inexpensive trip ideas, and received a boatload – I love you guys! Here’s the top recommendations:
(1) Camping: I know people who literally count down all year to the summer day in which they pack up shop and head to the hills to camp in the outdoors, often for weeks at a time! My childhood memories of family camping trips were total fun, with pop-up campers, cookouts, all fabulous stuff. Best part – you won’t believe how inexpensive it is! Ask your camping buddies for recommendations (if they’re really good friends, ask to borrow their camper!), or Google some of the campgrounds near you to see which are closest and could best fit the bill. My only camping requirement now as an adult: make sure there’s an easy way for me to plug in my coffeemaker. My needs are small.
(2) Dutch Wonderland: I’m right there with DLN readers; I adore this place. In my mind, DW has all of the benefits of Disney without the expensive travel, overpriced hotel and over-the-top pricey food. It’s Mickeyland with Amish carriages, the best of all worlds for my 8-year old daughter and 5-year old son. Best of all, it’s right there in Lancaster, home of fabulous shopping and incredible Amish food. It’s a traveling frugalista’s savings trifecta! Florida, Schmorida.
(3) Washington D.C.: There are so many reasons to love this town, especially the incredible, one-of-a-kind museums, many with free admission, including the Smithsonian Institutes! The Museum of American History, Natural History, and the Air & Space Museum are phenomenal, everyone in the family finds something to love, you can spend all day there (did I mention the outstanding air conditioning?) and it’s all available for free. One of the best things about Washington, D.C. – the hotels just outside the beltway are incredibly reasonable, and the Metro train system is extremely user friendly. Even I can manage it, and that’s saying something.
(4) Downtown Philadelphia: For all that you and I know about Philadelphia, there are dozens of new places, sights and Events you’ve never even heard of (many with free admission!) that await you this summer. Get onto visitphilly.com to see the dozens of Events available each and every day, the vast majority with very inexpensive (or free!) admission. What’s not to love?
The best thing about getaways is that – whatever brings you the greatest summertime fun with your family – there are always strategies to help you do it for less. Here’s to summertime, everybody!

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