Clear the calendar and consider these five ways to savor some family time without depleting your savings.

Being on holiday doesn’t have to be about geography. It is as much about adventure, exploration or even relaxation as it is about flight schedules, hotel rooms or miles traveled.

So if a far-flung destination is not in the cards just now, consider putting your creative juices to work to manifest a never-to-be-forgotten memory for you and your family. And, don’t forget to take pictures. Clear the calendar and consider these five ways to savor some family time without depleting your savings.

1.Go for it

Plan to participate in a half marathon, hike the canyon or camp in the backcountry. This is the year to research, plan and execute that idea you’ve been talking about but never took time to organize. Declare it a family affair and make the preparations part of the fun.

2. Trade houses

Find a friend or family member in a nearby neighborhood who is willing to join in the fun. Think about it: new toys in the closet, bikes in the garage, play sets in the back yard and cereal in the cupboard. (Agree up front on what is included in the deal.) Trade information about local walking paths, parks, museums, restaurants and movie theaters. Then enjoy the new view.

3.Just a weekend

Part of the holiday mindset includes saying no to checking work email, text messages or taking distracting calls. If not for a week, agree to make family the focus for one whole weekend. Visit a new restaurant, go to a ballgame, take a long bike ride or play board games at home. If duty calls, let folks know your family is on vacation.

4. Focus on free

Museums, festivals, lectures, parks, concerts, farmer’s markets and libraries are all sources of family fun where the admission is often gratis. Check local web sites and create your no-cost itinerary for the length of your “vacation.”

Look for online sources of self-guided walks or history tours and enjoy the discovery.

5. Book last-minute and local

Check travel websites or popular resorts for last-minute deals in your hometown or in a nearby city. Without air and significant gas charges, taking advantage of these down-to-the-wire deals can be worth the minimum expense. You’ll enjoy the travel treat knowing you’ve kept expenses in check.

Lynn O’Rourke Hayes ( is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via Family

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