It's ironic, isn't it? Rising costs of gas, airfare and just about everything else threaten to scuttle the the family vacation. Yet stressful times like these are just when families need a vacation most. Fortunately, another irony is that frugal vacations can actually be less stressful and bring family members closer than lap-of-luxury getaways.
Having fun on a budget may take extra effort. To put together an itinerary that has something for everyone requires creativity. You may need to check blogs and travelers' forums to learn about off-the-beaten-path attractions and their potential pleasures and pitfalls. Research is especially important for making a Plan B -- and you always want to have a Plan B -- on limited funds. Rain may cancel a day at the beach, for instance, but you'll know that the saltwater taffy maker gives free tours.
Remember that attitude is everything. Don't act as if you're settling for less. Take advantage of experiences that higher-priced itineraries might miss. The guide at a smaller museum may have more time to talk about the exhibits and local lore -- and give you a referral to a place that's usually off-limits to tourists, like a custom bootmaker's workshop.
So pack your sense of adventure. We're off on a 10-stop tour of family vacation ideas that won't break the bank. We'll start in our own backyard. Have you seen what's going on there lately?