It used to be that you could take a vacation with your family and not spend enormous amounts of money. It’s still possible to do that, but it requires some advanced planning. When your children are young, they don’t require high-priced entertainment. Spending quality time with their parents may be the most important thing to them.
Camping is still an affordable activity. If you don’t have your own equipment, you may be able to borrow what you need from friends and families. Campgrounds usually have a lot of activities such as hiking, swimming, ball fields, playgrounds etc. An added plus is that there are plenty of other kids around for your children to play with. You can bring food from home and cook on the provided grills.
Another option is to rent a cabin or cottage. This is a little more expensive than camping, but you have the advantage of a dry place to gather in inclement weather.
Still another possibility is a house exchange. This takes some research, but it is a good way to reduce your lodging expenses and visit a new place.
Hostels are also a good choice, particularly in tourist areas where hotels may be more expensive. Not all of them accept children, but many have private rooms.
Some colleges rent dorm rooms during the summer. This is more common in European countries, but teenagers would particularly enjoy being around a campus area. In addition, there are often free activities available.
One further note is that children are always hungry or thirsty. Pack a supply of food and drinks so that you don’t have to spend money in expensive convenience stores while traveling.