14 Signs Your Family Vacation Plans are TOO Cheap

We may earn a commission on purchases made after clicking links on this page.

by Ed

Around here we draw a clear distinction between 'Frugal' and 'Cheap'.

  • Frugal means getting the best bang for your buck - making sure your hard earned money is going the distance for you. 
  • Cheap is spending as little as possible, often sacrificing enjoyment or quality in the process. 

Our goal:  Be Frugal - not Cheap.

Usually here, we have a serious discourse about this distinction. This is not one of those times.

Today we're just going to have some fun with some summer vacation suggestions that are (hopefully) clear examples of being 'Cheap'.  We hope you have as much fun reading them as we did writing them - and we hope these ideas DON'T stir up any repressed childhood memories...

1. You think that showing your family the skunk under the deck and the racoon rummaging in the garbage bins replace a trip to the zoo.

2. Inviting friends to come over and watch fireworks means you found some road flares in your trunk that were about to expire.

3. You have a list of "Really Fun" Summer Games: Water Park! (washing the car), Chopper! (Mowing the lawn) and Hotel! (Sleeping in your garage while you AirBNB your house for extra money).

4. You host a BYOB summer Barbeque. You are disappointed when none of your guests Bring their Own BBQ. (What did they think that second ‘B’ meant?)

5. A ride on a lawn tractor is as good as going to the County Fair! 

6. Instead of park maps, you have a Walmart Atlas so you know where the nearest ‘Campground’ is on any given day of your road trip.

7. The “cottage” you rented is adjacent to a sewage treatment plant. You consider this a great deal as it is both a waterfront view and highly educational (for the kids!).

8. You consider a minivan with four reclining seats to be an RV.

9. Your travel destination plans always begin with the sentence, “____________ has a spare room”.  The ___________ can be anyone from a close friend to someone you once helped study for a Chemistry final in senior year.

10. Taking the kids on a dump run counts as a trip to an amusement park. Bonus points if they bring anything home from the ‘gift shop’. (Hint - the whole dump is a gift shop!)

11. Taking the kids to the pool has to wait till the neighbours are asleep or go on vacation and you can jump their pool fence.

12. You print DIY t-shirts with “Porch Lake” and “Puerta BackYarda” on them when the kids complain about never having any cool souvenirs from their summer travels.

13. When someone asks what you did over the summer, you show them how much extra you added to your savings account.

14. The list of places your kids say they visited includes Hyrule, Kanto, Hoth and Super Mario World.

If you're looking for some HELPFUL tips for budget family vacations - check these out!

Drop your own ideas into the comments because we love a good laugh too. They can be real or imaginary, but if you post any real cheapo-vacation ideas you've actually done - mention that for sure because that makes them so much funnier.

Also, we created a great list of truly fun family road trip games and activities - all from Amazon - one cart and you're done!  Check it out here.


  1. What a fun list! I had to look it over twice to make sure I hadn't pulled any of them, but #3 sounds like a good idea in my book.

    1. Ha! Glad you liked it, Lynn! And happy for you and your family that none of these rang true for you. :)

  2. Too funny, Robin!!
    Although, my kids would be THRILLED if I let them wash the car. ��

    1. Oh you HAVE to let them, Jenn! What a cheap way to entertain them - who cares how clean it gets - it's all about the hose! :)


We love hearing from you! If you have a moment, leaving a comment would make our day.

© Frugal Family Times. Design by FCD.