The vacation spot that looked so good in those glossy brochures is a distant memory.
By mid-April, as I watched the fuel prices climb, the “Big summer vacation” quickly became “What vacation? Did I say we were going on vacation?”
The good news is we don’t have to spend a lot of money to have some fun. It’s a fact that most good moms and dads must pass on to their children.
Sissy Osteen, Oklahoma State University associate professor and resource management specialist with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, knows where I’m coming from.
She offers the following suggestions for spending time together without overspending:
1. Do your homework. Be smart. Many hotels and resorts are offering rebates on gasoline and airfare. Go online and look for deals. While on the road, a motel pool is cheap entertainment for children and a free continental breakfast for a family of five is $50 that can go into the gas tank.
Above all, if you haven’t budgeted for a trip, don’t succumb to the temptation of using credit cards to pay for it.
2. Stay close to home. Route 66 still offers kicks. The car is still the cheapest formof family transportation and Oklahoma has more miles of the historic roadway to explore than any other state. Visit destinations the family can reach and return home in a single day, and pack a picnic lunch to save on food expenses. Also communities throughout the state offer a wealth of free summer festivals and celebrations.
3. Let’s get together. Growing average life expectancy means retirement is getting longer for Americans. Hobbies are essential to happiness during retirement. This summer pursue an activity the entire family can share for many years. Begin learning to play tennis, golf or another sport. Learn to play a musical instrument. Take a class together. Buy cameras from a second-hand store and take up photography.
4. Not just for kids. The summer reading program at the public library is an experience the entire family can enjoy. So are volunteer programs. Teach children the rewards of philanthropy by involving the family in a community service activity this summer.
— Carla Hinton