Make your vacation dollars count. Here are five strategies for finding good getaway values:
1. Free in D.C. Where else can you view world-class art and learn about world history, politics, space and anthropology – all for free? Add a no-cost yet globally recognized zoo, dozens of monuments and the opportunity to see our government in action, and you’ve collected some rather compelling reasons to visit.
Consider four free tours available at the U.S. Capitol. Aside from the general tour, opt for guided sessions to learn about the Civil War, the War of 1812 and the Brumidi Corridors, where ornate paintings, designed by Constantino Brumidi between 1857 and 1859, adorn the walls and ceilings.
2. Take a one-tank tour. You’ve been meaning to explore your own neck of the woods, right? Get out the map and see what’s possible within 100 miles of home. Talk it over with the kids and get their help in researching the options. Look for local, last-minute specials on rooms, meals and attractions. Tap into your destination’s chamber or visitors center for current festivals, farmers’ markets, free concerts and museum presentations.
3. Choose an off-peak package. Whether you visit midweek or offseason, you’ll save. For example, the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa offers a Drive, Dine and Dream package, available for stays Sunday through Thursday. Located in Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest, guests receive room discounts and resort credits as well as guided hikes, mountain bike adventures and s’mores on the beach.
4. Go camping. Pull out the tent and sleeping bags and make a plan to sleep under the stars. Whether you choose a nearby state park or a site you’ve longed to visit, use your time in nature to unplug from technology and connect with each other.
Teach the kids how to choose a good camp, gather wood and water, make a fire, use a compass and recognize animal tracks. Gather around and sing songs, tell stories and roast marshmallows for s’mores.
5. Cruise last-minute. The ship will sail whether cabins are full or not. Check with your travel agent, your cruise line of choice or online resources to review prices and options for last-minute departures from Miami to Seattle.
You’re bound to find a vacation that suits your family’s interests – including rooms, full board, plenty of ship-style fun and alluring ports of call – at a price that will tempt you to vote yes.