Tag Archives: frugal vacations

Every Kid in a Park: Fourth Graders and their families get FREE admission to National Parks

Every Kid in a Park | Money Savvy Living


Is your child a fourth grader for the 2015-2016 school year? If so, your fourth grade student—and entire family—qualifies to visit all national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other federal park lands throughout the 2015-2016 school year—for FREE as part of the Every Kid in a Park initiative!


Every Kid in a Park passes are scheduled to be available on September 1, 2015. Passes will be good for one year. Details on obtaining and using the passes will be announced September 1, to coincide with the launch of the program. As information is released, or as updates are made, check the Every Kid in a Park page for the most current program details.


Every Kid in a Park joins the National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids program in helping children learn history, culture, and science while exploring the great outdoors. With kids spending more time in front of technology these days—smart phones, video games, tablets—it is more important than ever to encourage children to learn by experiencing and not just researching online.


Because the fourth grade student and their entire family can get into the parks for FREE, visiting one of America’s beautiful national parks would be a frugal—and educational—vacation for your family this year.  Want to plan a trip?  Click here to get a pass for your fourth grader and family.


Following is a list of the parks that are a part of this program. Check out the locations and links and start planning your visit today:


Acadia NP—Bar Harbor, ME

Arches NP—Moab, UT

Big South Fork NRRA—Oneida, TN

Biscayne NP—Homestead, FL

Bryce Canyon NP—Bryce, UT

Cape Cod NS—Wellfleet, MA

Cape Hatteras NS—Manteo, NC

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP—Hagerstown, MD

Death Valley NP—Death Valley, CA

Everglades NP—Homestead, FL

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP—Fredericksburg, VA

Glacier Bay NP and PRES—Gustavus, AK

Glacier NP—West Glacier, MT

Grand Canyon NP—Grand Canyon, AZ

Grand Teton NP—Moose, WY

Great Basin NP—Baker, NV

Grand Sand Dunes NP and PRES—Mosca, CO

Great Smokey Mountains NP—Gatlinburg, TN

Harpers Ferry NHP—Harpers Ferry, WV

Lassen Volcanic NP—Mineral, CA

Mammoth Cave NP—Mammoth Cave, KY

Mesa Verde NP—Mesa Verde, CO

Mount Rainier NP—Ashford, WA

Olympic NP—Port Angeles, WA

Ozark NSR—Van Buren, MO

Rocky Mountain NP—Estes Park, CO

San Antonio Missions NHP—San Antonio, TX

Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP—Three Rivers, CA

Shenandoah NP—Luray, VA

Sleeping Bear Dunes NL—Empire, MI

Theodore Roosevelt NP—Medora, ND

Virgin Islands NP—St. John, Virgin Islands

Yellowstone NP—Yellowstone NP, WY

Yosemite NP—Yosemite NP, CA

Zion NP—Springdale, UT


*The initiative is an administration-wide effort among the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Frugal Vacation Planning: 10 Ways to Save Money

Frugal Vacation Planning: 10 Ways to Save Money | Money Savvy Living


Taking a frugal vacation doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice fun. Regardless of your destination, there are still steps that you can take to save some of your hard-earned money. This list of ten items will help you to have a great time with your family, without breaking the bank:


Flexible travel schedule—So, when is the best time to plan your vacation and book a flight? Research has shown that the best time to book a flight is on a Tuesday at 3pm EST, 50-100 days out. Apparently, airlines release their new fares for the week on Tuesdays, so that is the time that there is the most competition for your dollars. Take a look at the different pricing options for leaving a few days earlier or later because you may also notice that you can save a few bucks by traveling on certain days of the week. Of course, as you get closer to the time that you want to vacation, and flights and hotels begin to fill up, you will start to see price increases. On the other hand, if you are totally flexible, you may be able to book last minute to get cheaper flights and deals on hotel rooms that haven’t yet filled. Unless your plans can be easily altered though, you may want to stick with the 50-100-days-out option.


Take advantage of the free continental breakfast at the hotel—this can save you a minimum of $20-40 per day, depending on where you may choose to eat breakfast with the family. Even though breakfast is typically the cheapest meal of the day, it is still worthwhile to eat for free, if possible. Saving that $20 to $40 every day can go toward souvenirs, or just make your vacation a little less costly.


Ask about discounts—so many hotels and tourist attractions offer discounts for AAA members, military, teachers, and of course, senior citizens. Even if you don’t fit into any of these categories, you can still ask the customer service representative about specific hotel specials or any other discounts that they offer. Even if you have looked up prices online, if you have the time to call, you may very well uncover additional discounts or savings that do not show up online.


Rewards programs—many hotel or resort chains offer a rewards program. They are free to join and you can earn points for staying at that same chain each time you vacation. If you are taking a week-long vacation, you may even earn enough points to get a free night or two away during the year, or just save the points until you vacation again. Most programs are not timely to set up and, typically, the points don’t expire, so if you don’t need them right away, they can benefit you down the road.


Go with a group—most major attractions offer discount pricing to groups. Even if you have as few as ten people in your group, you may be able to qualify for group pricing. If the entire family meets up for vacation every year anyways, you may as well save a little extra. Group pricing often requires you to plan ahead though, so make sure to call ahead of time to see how the amusement park or attraction handles group ticketing and pricing.


Join the ASTC travel Passport Program (Association of Science – Technology Centers)—this may not be something that you are aware of, but there are over 250 science centers and museums that are a part of this program. Once you pay for a membership at one, you are eligible to visit ANY other and gain free admission (the only exception is that you DO NOT get free admission to any other science center within 90 miles of where you originally purchased your membership). With science centers and museums that are part of this program all over the world, you may very well be able to take advantage of this program on your next vacation.


Frugal Vacation Planning // Money Savvy Living


Rent a condo or house—while hotels can be really convenient, and maybe even have amenities that a condo or house does not, such as a pool, room service, housekeeping, or exercise facility, they can also end up being really costly. Often times, you can rent a home for an entire week for the same price that you may pay for just a few nights at a resort. Another perk of a condo or house is that there is a full kitchen. Taking the time to make your own food, at least for some of the meals, can save you a lot of money overall. One such website that offers great pricing is Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO).


Stock your room with snacks and bottled water—whether you are driving or flying, make sure that you have enough snacks and bottled water. If you can stop by a store like Walmart and get a few snack items, this will prevent you from having to buy expensive items from a vending machine or nearby snack bar. I don’t know about you, but I have three kids, and they are always in need of water or a snack.


Utilize complementary transportation or public transportation—depending on where you are going, you may be able to take complementary transportation from the airport to the hotel, or from the hotel to an amusement park. Or larger urban areas, it may even be possible to take a bus, train, or subway at a much cheaper rate than actually renting a car.


Limit the amount of souvenirs—while it can be tempting to want to buy an expensive souvenir at the hotel gift shop or from a major attraction, you will spend double, or even triple, what a similar souvenir would cost from a discount shop that is located offsite. Don’t forget, taking pictures or videos can be just as much of a memento of the vacation as a trinket can—and those don’t cost a thing.


For more money saving tips, check out this article:

 5 Money Saving Tips for Planning Your Next Vacation

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Vacation | Money Savvy Living


Happy Travels!