With another week long break from school on the horizon for your kids, Spring Break can pose a challenge for you and your family. While many families will choose to board a plane and spend their week in the sun, a tropical vacation isn’t always in the books for those living on a tighter budget. If you find yourself a part of the latter group, you wouldn’t be alone. It’s a symptom of unstable financial conditions felt across North America.
Unstable Financial Environments Make it Hard to Vacation
Nearly half of Canadians don’t have enough money in their rainy day funds to cover a sudden car or home repair, let alone the cost of an all-inclusive family trip to a far-away resort. It doesn’t help that a historically low loonie is keeping even the most comfortable Canucks grounded. Meanwhile, Americans are facing similar difficulties with their savings, with nearly 60% unable to pay for an unexpected bill or repair costing less than $1,000.
An elaborate holiday isn’t always something you and your family can afford, even if you feel like you could all deserve a break. Though the year has just begun, it’s following in the footsteps of 2016 as depressing headlines of travel bans, strange White House communications, and political instability light up our news apps. But just because you can’t book your dream vacation this March Break doesn’t mean you can’t escape your reality in other ways. A staycation can be a budget-friendly way to spend time with your family.
Don’t Live Like a Local — Visit Like a Tourist
Though it’s a relatively new term, the portmanteau shortening stay and vacation has been gaining popularity. Google has recorded a 10% increase of online searches for staycation ideas since 2013, and many local businesses and cultural sites are taking advantage of the rise in stay-at-home travellers. Seeing your city through the eyes of a tourist can be a fun and creative way to occupy your children’s time over the break.
If you’ve lived in your neighbourhood for a long time, it can be difficult to consider your town with fresh eyes. That’s where blogs reporting on local news, events, and restaurants can come in handy. Go online to conduct research as if you’re touching down in your city for the first time, looking out for the best diners, galleries, museums, and other tourist destinations. To help you save even more money while you explore locally, you can always use online coupon sites like Groupon to find the best deals.
If you’re struggling to find these deals on your own, your local branch of the city’s library is a great place to turn to for help. Their resource desk is serviced by librarians who field questions like yours every day. They can help you track down economical Spring Break ideas in town or neighbouring cities. The branch itself may also be hosting free programs scheduled throughout the week that your whole family can enjoy.
Get Support When You Need it
You’ll find these ideas helpful only if you can get time away from work to spend with your kids. For a large number of parents, this is a luxury they don’t have. They simply can’t afford to take the whole week off and look after their children. Whether you live with your partner or as a single mother, Spring Break can wrack up a huge price tag as you rely on babysitters and day camps to mind your children. Hiring these services can deplete what little savings you did manage to set aside for emergencies.
If you’re just shy of covering these costs, there are payday loan lenders near you that can help. Starting at $100 for first time borrowers, these small dollar loans can bridge the gap between your savings and your Spring Break costs. They’re easy and convenient to apply, and in some cases they can link you with same-day financing, offering you much-needed cash in the nick of time.
You may not have the financial freedom that lets you take your kids abroad during Spring Break, but your limited budget shouldn’t ground your family’s enthusiasm for the holiday. If you can’t get time off of work, payday loans can help you finance child care services you didn’t plan on, but if you can, get help from your children and plan a fun staycation in the city.