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In today's world of high gas prices, soaring food prices, higher costs to fly, etc., a person should consider selecting an area within a hundred, two hundred, or three hundred mile radius to drive to their vacation destination. Most cars will accommodate at least 4 to 6 people comfortably. You'll be surprised at the places that are available within this mile radius that you can enjoy a vacation for very little money. Select an area that has lots of good site-seeing sites that will be informative and of interest to your children and of interest to you and your spouse. This will keep everyone occupied and an educational tool at the same time. If this is your summer vacation, select an area that will have a nice park with rides, etc., for the children, i.e., Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens, Six Flags, Disney World, etc., and plan a day at the park with the children. Most food and motel chains in the area will offer discounted books to these parks and many will have transportation directly to the parks. I've seen some tickets discounted as much as 30%.

Another thing to remember- book your motel or hotel reservations at a place that if you stay for several days, they'll give you a day free, many motel's and hotel's offer this but they'll not voluntarily tell you this unless you ask. Also be sure to book at a place that will provide you a continental breakfast. Most of these breakfasts provide many excellent healty foods for adults and children. Most have cereals, flavored oatmeal, fruit, bagles, pancakes, and some sort of meat. You will not believe the money you will save by booking your reservations at a place that serves these breakfasts. Always have them tell you what is on the breakfast menu to ensure that it is healthy and nutritious for your children because some motels are lax on what they serve.

If money is a little scarce, try buying your food at a local market and pack a nice picnic lunch for everyone - keep it cool in a cooler until time for you to eat and then chose a nice place to have a wonderful picnic with your children. By the way, save money on your ice, and get it from the ice maker where you are staying. Also always remember to buy and take your own drinks and snacks with you for the entire trip. This will save you lots of money because these type snacks can cost you plenty for a family of 4 or more. You'll be amazed at the end of your trip how much money you will have saved by taking your own snacks and drinks.

Many of these areas you will be visiting will have special festivals, art shows, fairs, museums, and indoor or outdoor plays that will be of interest to both you and your children. Some of the best plays I've ever seen has been at some of these type plays. Many local area Civic Centers also have lots of excellent sports events, special musical people performing, or nice antique shows, etc.

Why go too far away when you can take your children and enjoy a great vacation, avoiding spending an astronomical amount of money? My husband and I decided this year to do this very thing and we had one of the better vacations we have ever had. We saw and learned many things about a couple of our states that we didn't know and we haven't quit yet. We are planning to take another trip in the very near future and learn more about the United States. I believe people would enjoy visiting their own country once they started going to these type places. I'll tell you one thing, I don't think it can be beat. (photo credit: Guidetocaribbean, Beachtraveller, Luxury-resort-guide)