by Janis Brett Elspas
At our house, Summer means family road trip time. Why fly somewhere when you'll miss all the out-of-the-way places that you can easily visit if you drive instead? TwitterMoms inspired me to write this post and you can find out about lots of other great family activities there.
Here Are MommyBlogExpert's 5 Tips to Finding Fun Family Trip Stops That Are Also Really Inexpensive, Too
1. Factory Tours are a novel way to learn and have fun at the same time and luckily, even with inflation and the closure of many U.S. factory tours to the public, there are still plenty of these you and your kids can visit for free or for a very low fee. Check out this website for factory tours in the U.S. and search by state to find places along your route. One of the most fun things we've ever done as far as factory tours go, was taking a tour of a pretzel bakery and then having the chance to make our own in Pennsylvania.
2. Sign up for a family membership at a museum, such as Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, which as a member of an international science museum group ASTC has reciprocal relationships with other science museums around America and elsewhere in the world. All you do is buy one pass and then use it at other museums in their network to get your family in free or at a reduced rate. We've been to museums in many, many states by using this pass without spending hundreds of dollars more on admission fees for our 6-member family.
3. Buy an Annual National Park Service Pass for just $80 and use it for your family to visit more than 300 parks and monuments in the U.S. without paying entrance fees at each location. We've seen more than 150 of our country's parks, monuments, and other park lands on both coasts, as well as in between, such as the Brown vs. Board of Education National Park site in Topeka, Kansas where a landmark decision about racial integration was made, saving hundreds of dollars if we had to pay entrance fees to enter each park individually. After just 3 or so parks, depending on entry fees which vary, the pass pays for itself.
4. Another great way to find out about fun, inexpensive things to do is while traveling check the brochure racks at any venues you do go to for other area activities. Don't forget to pick up local newspapers in your travels too, and look at the phone books in your motel each night. Also, don't overlook all the fabulous brochures that are in the lobby of many motels and hotels, large and small, to look for more off-beat things your family will enjoy. And, at all costs, always pick up any giveaways at rest stops and when you fuel up. Be sure not to overlook truck stops, as we have found lots of booklets there to save money on motel rooms along the way.
5. Last, but not least, don't leave on any road trip without a full set of free maps and travel guides from your Auto Club. If you are a member of any of these clubs, such as the Automobile Club of California that we belong to, you will have access to lots of fun activities and there are even some that offer discounts to AAA members.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the Williamsburg Tourism and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.