Temperatures are rising, and the sun is shining. It’s official; summer is on the horizon. Parents around the country are starting to plan for the children’s break from school. For some, that means finding a great summer camp. However, summer camp can be expensive, particularly if you don’t know where to look to find a bargain. If you want to find the best summer camps in the world that also fit your budget, here are some tips that can help.
Explore Every Kind of Camp
Kids today have diverse interests. For some, the classic overnight wilderness experience (which probably mimics what most parents took part in as children) might be ideal. However, these aren’t the only options available.
Now, you can find summer camps for any budget dedicated to all kinds of interests, including:
- Adventure Camps
- Art Camps
- Bible Camps
- Science Camps
- Scout Camps
- Sport Camps
- And More
Each of these camps may pique your child’s interests, so don’t assume that you have to spend a boatload of money on traditional summer camp options. You may find that one of the other versions is not just more affordable but will also match your child’s needs better.
Daytime vs. Overnight Summer Camps
Summer camps don’t just cover more topics than ever before; they also offer different schedules. Some feature the classic overnight experience, having the children live on-site and providing them with three meals a day and lodging. Usually, these are more expensive since the kids spend more time at the camp.
If you need something more budget-friendly, consider a local daytime camp. While the camp may provide some meals, they don’t have to house your kids overnight, and that can make them cheaper. They may also require fewer staff members since these summer camps don’t operate 24 hours a day. This can also bring the cost down, making them a great option if you don’t have a lot to spend.
Just keep in mind, if you choose a daytime summer camp, you will have to transport your child to and from the location every day. If the camp isn’t close by, this can suck up a lot of time and make it more expensive since you have to pay for more fuel.
Check Out Nonprofit Camps
If you want to find a bargain, consider looking for summer camps run by nonprofits. Churches, community organizations, and recreation centers like the YMCA may offer lower-cost options.
Most nonprofits price their summer camps in a way that ensures their expenses are covered, but that’s it. Plus, some may even be free or available with a sliding price scale, allowing lower-income families to give their child the summer camp experience without breaking the bank.
Look for Scholarships
Some parents are surprised to learn that certain higher cost summer camps actually have scholarships and other forms of financial aid available. Usually, the available funds are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis (based on the order of those that apply and whether they ultimately qualify for assistance), so it is best to get your application in as soon as possible.
If you aren’t sure what is available, contact the camp’s director and ask. They will be able to tell you if the summer camp has scholarships, what the eligibility requirements are, and how to apply.
Don’t Forget Sibling and Loyalty Discounts
Many summer camps offer discounts if multiple kids from the same household are attending. If your children share similar interests and both meet the age requirements for the camp, see if the price is reduced for the second kid if they both enroll.
Plus, this approach can help you keep other costs down. Since your children are going to the same location, you don’t have to arrange for transportation to more than one camp.
Similarly, if your children have been to a summer camp before and had a good time, see if the camp offers a discount for returning kids. Loyalty discounts aren’t uncommon, but you may need to ask the director to see if one is available.
Host Your Own Summer Camp
For parents who can afford to take a few days off of work, creating your own summer camp might be the most economical choice. You can find a nearby camping area, grab tents and gear, and head out into the wilderness as a family.
If other families in your area would also enjoy the experience, consider making it a group effort. This can help keep everyone’s costs down and may make it easier to offer a broader range of activities to the children.
How to Find the Best Summer Camps for Any Budget
Ultimately, there are a lot of options for reducing the cost of summer camp. If you need to stick to a budget, don’t be afraid to contact multiple summer camps and see if you can get a discount or access to scholarships or other forms of financial aid. You may be surprised how affordable summer camp can be after just making a few important phone calls.
Do you send your kids to summer camp? Do you have trouble squeezing summer camp into your budget? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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