How to take affordable family-friendly vacations

With the right combination of advance planning, free activities, and affordable accommodations, family vacations can be both inexpensive and a blast. You can find budget-friendly family road trips that deliver the maximum bang for your vacation buck. 

Check out these easy-on-the-wallet road trip routes with convenient and comfortable stays at Red Lion Hotels family of brands. Start planning road trips the whole family will love and check out our top recommendations for things to do along the way. 

florida road trip map


wynwood walls


Open to the public and free of charge, the Wynwood Walls serves as an outdoor museum of international street art.

rlh lake buena vista pool area

Centrally-located hotel near Disney World, this modern getaway offers affordable rooms, a relaxing lazy river, a delicious on-site Mexican restaurant, and convenience to popular attractions in Orlando.

lake eola park

Rent swan-shaped paddle boats or see a concert or a play in the Walt Disney Amphitheater.

Heights Public market

Set in a converted warehouse, you can taste diverse dishes from various food stalls at this open-air market.


southeast texas road trip map


san marcos river

Rent inner tubes for the whole family and spend the day floating on the river.

san antonio river walk

The Paseo del Rio is San Antonio's crowned-jewel attraction. Shop, eat Tex-Mex, and take a boat trip down the river with strumming mariachi music playing in the background.

uss lexington ship

Visit the longest-serving Essex Class aircraft carrier of World War II and check out military artifacts and aircraft.


ontario canada road trip map


big nickel

This famous roadside attraction in Sudbury is a monument to the Canadian nickel industry.


Family members with a sweet tooth will love trying these tasty and inventive doughnuts in St. Catharine's.

CN tower

Find spectacular views as you rocket to the top in a thrilling 58-second ride aboard glass-fronted elevators.



son on dad's shoulders flying kite


Here are our top tips for making family adventures more budget-friendly:

  • Play games—for inexpensive entertainment during the drive, bond over license plate bingo or I Spy. Or, try in-car activities like magnet puzzles and coloring books. 

  • Play family-friendly audiobooks or podcasts based on your children's age group.


man and kid playing baseball


  • Pack lots of easily accessible sweet and salty snacks. Plan themed snacks around events, like popsicles from a freezer bag on the way to a baseball game or hot dogs in a cooler for a quick roadside picnic. 

  • Change the view and switch up car seat arrangements throughout the trip. 


family eating ice cream and laughing


  • Pull out an atlas or map app and have teenagers help come up with the route for the next day. 

  • Before leaving for the trip, have every family member pack their own "carry on" with their favorite games, snacks, and gear for upcoming road trip activities. 


kid on mom's shoulders


  • Pack frisbees, baseball gloves, spike balls, etc., for use at parks. 

  • Have breakfast for dinner at a 24-hour diner—it's usually much less expensive than ordering dinner entrees.


mom and daughter looking at rocks


  • Another way to save is to seek brands that maximize value along your route like Red Lion Hotels family of brands. From the budget-friendly Americas Best Value Inn to the flagship Red Lion Hotels with over 900 convenient destinations, you’ll enjoy max value and fun. You'll find discounted room rates, food and beverage deals, and more. Plus, Hello Rewards Members earn Hello Bucks on every qualifying stay, which you can use on your next road trip stop—membership is 100% free. See offers.