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Budget Friendly Vacations

Updated on February 5, 2013

Budget Friendly Vacations For Tough Times!

Budget Friendly Vacations For Tough Times! Times are tough but we still need to take the time to un-wind and Budget Friendly Vacations will guide you through planning a vacation with as little pain as possible.

Anytime is a great time to save money and considering the state of our economy, we all have to pinch pennies somewhere. But, it shouldn't mean that we have to give up on vacations all togeather and "Budget Friendly Vacations" is here to share some secrets on taking a vacation even when times are tough.

Check out our section on National Parks! You can learn about all of our national parks and decide which ones that you would like to visit. You'll be able to purchase cheap airline tickets in our section on flying, or you can renew your interest in "rail travel" in our "Take The Train" articles.

Our National Parks

If you're searching for a "budget concious" vacation, visit one of our beautiful national parks! There are quite a few of them to choose from and many are just a short drive from home.

As of 2006, there are 58 officially-designated National Parks in the United States and its dependent areas.

Name Location

Acadia National Park Maine

American Samoa National Park American Samoa

Arches National Park Utah

Badlands National Park South Dakota

Big Bend National Park Texas

Biscayne National Park Florida

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Colorado

Bryce Canyon National Park Utah

Canyonlands National Park Utah

Capitol Reef National Park Utah

Carlsbad Caverns National Park New Mexico

Channel Islands National Park California

Congaree National Park South Carolina

Crater Lake National Park Oregon

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Ohio

Death Valley National Park California, Nevada

Denali National Park and Preserve Alaska

Dry Tortugas National Park Florida

Everglades National Park Florida

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Alaska

Glacier National Park (part of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park) Montana/Alberta

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Alaska

Grand Canyon National Park Arizona

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

Great Basin National Park Nevada

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Colorado

Great Smoky Mountains National Park North Carolina, Tennessee

Guadalupe Mountains National Park Texas

Haleakala National Park Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hawaii

Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

Isle Royale National Park Michigan

Joshua Tree National Park California

Katmai National Park and Preserve Alaska

Kenai Fjords National Park Alaska

Kings Canyon National Park California

Kobuk Valley National Park Alaska

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve Alaska

Lassen Volcanic National Park California

Mammoth Cave National Park Kentucky

Mesa Verde National Park Colorado

Mount Rainier National Park Washington

North Cascades National Park Washington

Olympic National Park Washington

Petrified Forest National Park Arizona

Redwood National and State Parks California

Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

Saguaro National Park Arizona

Sequoia National Park California

Shenandoah National Park Virginia

Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Dakota

Virgin Islands National Park U.S. Virgin Islands

Voyageurs National Park Minnesota

Wind Cave National Park South Dakota

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Alaska

Yellowstone National Park Idaho, Montana, Wyoming

Yosemite National Park California

Zion National Park Utah

Here is a great link for more info on National Parks:Find A National Park

Photo by Jonathan Zander

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Cheap Airline Tickets

Besides simply obtaining airline tickets from travel agencies, online or at the airport at regular prices, two special types of cheap tickets exist. These include standby tickets and discount tickets.

Standby tickets are obtained at the airport itself, only hours before departure. They represent places freed up by people, who cancelled their flight shortly before departure (so the airline has free places available, yet can no longer sell it at a regular price, because of the shortage of time).

Discount tickets are tickets that are only available at travel agencies; they are usually targeted at students. Discount tickets may be 50-70% cheaper than other similar regular tickets (not low-cost).

An airline consolidator (sometimes called as bucket shops) is a specific kind of airline ticket reseller. Consolidators work through contracts with major carriers to manage blocks of airline seat inventory at reduced prices which they then sell. The main benefit being that fares through consolidators will be lower than published rates available from the airlines themselves. Airlines consolidators do not buy the seats in bulk for resale, they sell the available inventory at contracted rates.

Consolidators are most beneficial in international markets. For domestic US markets, typically, they are only advantageous for business class and first class fares. Tickets purchased through consolidators may have very different fare rules than typical published fares, and sometimes frequent flyer credit may not be accrued.

Even though many consolidators are online, most consolidators still work only through bona fide retail travel agents.

Maximum Savings, Lowest Fares - Find Cheap Air Tickets on This Site & Save Big on Travel

How About Taking A Vacation The "Old Fashion" Way?

Frommer's Family Vacations in the National Parks (Park Guides)
Frommer's Family Vacations in the National Parks (Park Guides)

There are hundreds of natural playgrounds scattered across the U.S.--from Cape Hatteras to the Great Smoky Mountains, from Cape Cod to Bryce Canyon, not to mention Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the Grand Tetons. They're spread out like giant economical, ecological family resorts of unsurpassed beauty--with free entertainment like hiking and swimming and horseback riding, and various accommodation options, from hike-in campsites to the relative luxury of park cabins. And they invite great family vacations, if you plan for it. Unplanned, the family camping trip can become the nightmare of a lifetime, stuck in the dark with no reservations, inadequate equipment, and a hungry carload growing crankier by the moment.

This is where Wohlforth's guidebook comes in. Section one is devoted to planning the trip, choosing the park, and deciding when to go. Then come the national parks, first those on the Eastern Seaboard, followed by the Great Smoky Mountains, the Southwest, the Rockies, the Sierra Nevada sites, and the West Coast. For each, Wohlforth provides maps, phone numbers, addresses, and Web sites to contact, and insights into the region's natural history. Each park is described fully, from its terrain and animal and plant life to special attractions (like geysers, peaks, and waterfalls) and all the lodging options. Wohlforth tells how far in advance you need to reserve, when to go, how much time you might want to spend, and what to pack. He explains how to get there, what facilities the park provides, what the entrance fees are, and which activities are available, as well as any other details you might wish you'd known about in advance, enabling you and your family to plan and then enjoy the trip you envisioned. --Stephanie Gold


I've recently started building my website for those of you who are looking for that dream vacation. While I'm still working on it, it is usable. Check it out here:

Travel Plans And Dream Vacations!

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    • profile image

      catwell2 6 years ago

      Great ideas! Love the list of national parks. One thing to add - I believe if you're retired, you can get a national park pass for free!

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 7 years ago

      Some good information on traveling on a budget. I'm glad you include rail transport, too. That is a wonderful way to take a fun trip. Dusted with some Angel Blessing*