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downtown seattle in autumn

With crunchy leaves and crisp air, the fall is a special season for the weather and your family. It’s also a great time to plan some affordable family vacations and fun autumn activities. 

We know budgeting for vacations and activities can be a huge stress. Finding places and things to do that fit within your budget is difficult, and it can be a challenge to even know how to budget a vacation. To save you the worry and stress, we’ve compiled a list of affordable family vacations and activities to fit your budget and preferences. 


Affordable Family Vacations

Since summer tourism typically ends by mid-September, you can plan affordable family vacations with less stress and financial difficulties compared to planning one in June, July, or August. Below, we’ve listed the top five best family vacations on a budget.

1. Catch the Sun in Hawaii

Say “aloha” to one of the best vacations on a budget! Surfing, hiking, and relaxing on the beach are all reasons people dream of visiting this island nation. Tourists flood to Hawaii during the summer and winter, leaving the fall one of the best times to secure affordable vacations. There are typically fewer visitors, which means lower rates at resorts and better airfares. For example, when comparing airfare rates in August with those in October, there is at least a $100 difference between the two.

2. Explore the Outdoors in Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Nature lovers will have a blast visiting Lake Tahoe in the fall. Lake Tahoe has a wide range of exciting outdoor activities, including fishing, golfing, boating, and rafting. Bonus, the renowned mountain resort town has wonderful deals in September and October, so you can have a more affordable vacation. 

Between the summer crowds and the November skiers, Lake Tahoe resorts have reduced prices for rooms, meaning you can stay and enjoy your vacation longer. As a comparison, a five-night stay in August at the Landing Tahoe Resort & Spa—a five-star resort—would cost over $600/night in August. The same length of stay in October may cost a little over $300/night. 

3. See the Sights in Seattle

Early to mid-fall in Seattle is usually on the less-rainy side, so you have a better chance of enjoying your travel plans. Also, after the summer rush, hotel rates are discounted, which offers you a chance to book a great place at a lower price. For example, a four-night stay at the Mediterranean Inn in October costs around $100 less than it would in mid-July.

Seattle showcases amazing urban attractions, the top including the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Along with its features in the city, Seattle caters to outdoor lovers with biking, sea kayaking, and whale watching.

4. Board a Cruise to the Bahamas

Fall is the off-season for cruise lines, so it’s one of the best times to plan a family cruise. From October to December, cruise tickets are sometimes $300 less than they would be in peak cruise season, which is from late June to September. When booking a trip to the Bahamas through Carnival Cruise, a 6-day cruise can start as low as $304 per person. 

Since the cruise line off-season doesn’t end until December, you can also plan affordable winter vacations, as well. In the time between jumping in a pile of leaves and drinking apple cider, you can easily book a Christmastime cruise for you and your loved ones.

5. Revisit Childhood in Orlando, Florida

Orlando is the it-place of theme parks, hosting Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios. Fortunately, just like cruise lines, theme parks have off-seasons, too. Once kids head back to school, hotel and theme park prices generally drop. This increases your chance of booking affordable family vacations. Try scheduling your vacation between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, and you’ll likely get a great rate.

Did you know that vacation financing is an option when planning a vacation? A vacation loan is an unsecured personal loan that you can use to pay for your travel expenses. It is one of many ways to cover the expenses of travel, but it can be risky if you do not know the pros and cons. If you are wondering about how to finance a vacation, reach out to our team at White River Credit Union today. We can lay out which vacation financing plans may be the best for you and your travel budget.  


Affordable Fall Activities

Sometimes, a full family vacation doesn’t work with your schedule—it happens! Even if you aren’t able to travel this fall, there are many affordable activities you can try out for some fall fun. 

1. Adventure Out on a Fall Hike

Fall is one of the best times of year to go out and relish the beauty of nature. The best part is it doesn’t cost a lot to do so. Pack your water bottle and some snacks and hit a nearby trail to get some great exercise and see vibrant fall colors. 

2. Host a DIY Costume Contest

October means it’s Halloween season, so costumes are on everyone’s minds. Instead of purchasing a costume from the store, try making one of your own out of household items. Better yet, host a party where your friends do the same and see who comes up with the best DIY costume. 

3. Preheat the Oven for a Baking Party

Fall is famous for autumn-themed baked goods, ranging from pumpkin pie to apple cider doughnuts. So, it’s the perfect time to create some baked goods. Have everyone in your household pick a fall-inspired recipe they want to make, then pitch in to make their baking dreams come true. 

4. Get Lost (and Find Your Way Out) in a Corn Maze 

Corn mazes are a great challenge for you and your family to tackle. Time yourself to see how quickly you can get out of the maze!

5. Invite Loved Ones to a Friendsgiving Dinner

If you aren’t able to travel to see your extended family for Thanksgiving this year, try hosting a Friendsgiving potluck. Encourage everyone to bring their favorite holiday dish for some delicious fun.


At White River Credit Union, we’re committed to supporting you with your finances, savings, and goals. Whether it’s helping you plan affordable family vacations through financing or saving money for your trip, we’ve got the tools to take care of your financial health. If you would like assistance with saving and managing finances, reach out to us today—we’re here and happy to help.

© 2020 White River Credit Union