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10 Budget Family Vacation Ideas

Train Tours
A train trip is an excellent excuse to learn about new technologies being used to build trains today and about why trains are so important in American history. Get started with these train videos.

Train tours prove the truth in the saying, "Getting there is half the fun." One all-inclusive price gets you a chauffeured drive through landscape no minivan can handle (over a gorge, for instance), a mobile restaurant and bathroom breaks whenever nature calls. Every seat is a window seat. You might "ahh" at the Canadian Rockies, visting historic towns along the way. Or glide along the Gulf of Mexico, with walking tours of San Antonio at one end and New Orleans at the other.

Most often you'll sleep in a hotel. If you overnight onboard, you might want to splurge on a berth (bunk beds). Otherwise, you'll greet the sunrise stretched out on your reclining seat, which is still more comfortable than trying to catch 40 winks in the passenger seat of the minivan.

Going by rail also reduces your carbon footprint. Today's passenger rail uses between 20 and 30 percent less energy than airplanes and automobiles [source: Amtrak].

If our next suggestion had a theme song, it would be "This Land Is Your Land."