Budget-friendly vacation ideas that go beyond the beach

(WIAT) — Summer is finally here and many families are looking forward to vacation. But what if instead of another trip to the beach, you could go somewhere you’ve never been – for the same price?

Jessica Emerson is a concierge travel planner. She says cultural towns are budget-friendly vacation options.

“Cultural towns are great to travel if you’re on a budget-conscious system,” Emerson said. “You can always find a nice hotel, reasonably priced, and go do some historical touring. Some are even within driving distance.”

Emerson also says it’s good to consider places that are great for both kids and adults.

“With young kids, it’s definitely beneficial to think outside the box for them because they don’t need to be structured all day long. They want to have some free time,” Emerson said.

In addition to considering the kids when choosing activities, the travel planner also suggests considering children when deciding modes of transportation.

“When you’re looking at younger children, maybe under the age of 5, I don’t recommend doing anything outside of 3-4 hours of travel distance in the car,” Emerson said.

For families that want to keep the beach experience, but want to go somewhere other than the Gulf Coast, Emerson suggests cruising.

“They could take a cruise and go hit several ports,” Emerson said. “You’re not only being money conscious, but you’re also getting an experience your kids can’t get here.”

Emerson also has suggestions for families that save up for big summer trips. She recommends places closer to the U.S. like Negril, the Rivera Maya, or the Aztec ruins. Taking a trip to a neighboring country may not be as expensive as you’d think.

“It’s about the same price for us to spend a week in California as it is for us to go to an all-inclusive resort in the Rivera Maya.”

There are several amenities in all-inclusive offers outside of food. They may also offer things like child-care, or cultural experiences like cooking and language classes. These are often included in the price, or can be added for a small additional fee.

For more information or advice on how to plan a great trip, reach out to Jessica Emerson through Facebook. Like her page Jess Emerson Travels-Janelle&cottravelllc

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