Spring is on the horizon—which means it’s time to start planning your summer vacation. Vacations can get pricey, particularly if you have a large family, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a blast. Whether you intend to travel or find things to do close to home, these budget-friendly vacation ideas are a great place to start.

Staycation

You don’t have to jet off to a remote island to enjoy your summer break. If your budget doesn’t include flights and accommodations, plan for a staycation instead. Take time off work and minimize non-family obligations. Make plans to visit all of the free attractions in your area. Many museums and tourist attractions have free entry days. Do your research to find out what days offer the best pricing, or find a local beach or park you haven’t visited before. Then pack a lunch, grab your water bottles, and head out for some free fun.

Go Camping

If you enjoy camping, this is a budget-friendly vacation option your kids will love. Your family will enjoy nature hikes, swimming in streams and lakes, roasting hot dogs over the fire, and telling spooky ghost stories after dark. Pack enough food so you won’t have to go to restaurants, and look for second-hand camping gear to keep costs down.

House Swapping

Do you have a friend or family member in another city who would like to swap homes for a few days?  You’ll save a bundle on hotels and if you prepare meals at home you’ll save on meals, too.

Off Season Travel

Everyone travels in the summer because that’s when kids are out of school. Consider pulling your kids out of school for a few days and traveling in the off-peak season. This isn’t a good idea if your kids are struggling in school, or are in their important junior or senior year of high school. But if you have younger kids and their teachers will give you their homework ahead of time, take a trip in September or October when travel and hotel costs plummet and the weather is fine. You’ll be surprised what types of things there are to do off season.

What’s your favorite budget-friendly vacation tip? Do you prefer to stay at home or to travel?