Annual family vacations help you take a break from the routine and allow you to unwind; they also build memories. Trips can help adults feel happier and more relaxed while creating strong family bonds. They aid in children’s brain development. Plus, stepping away from screens offers a multitude of bonuses, including greater physical health and a better mood.
Whether you desire to lounge oceanside or zipline through Costa Rica, your family vacation should reflect what relaxation means to you. Yet, there’s a problem. Many Americans can’t afford to take an annual break with their families — a whopping one in four, according to 2018 data.
The Cost Of A Family Vacation
Research tells us that the average cost of a vacation for a family of four costs more than $4,000. The Ascent says domestic flight prices average $260 per person, while Kayak notes that renting a car costs approximately $472 per week. Meals come in at around $45 per person per day.
Then there are accommodations. Hotel prices are higher now than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey by hotel analytics firm STR from 2021, lodging at a standard hotel will run you about $141 a night. In places like Miami, that price can go up to $238.
Staying in an Airbnb, with an average price of $137 a night, can reduce the price in the long run since you could cook at home. But don’t forget entertainment, like guided outdoor activities or theme parks, which may easily tack on another $50+ per family member.
Travel prices can definitely add up. Champion Traveler estimates that the cost for a family of four to visit Miami — with accommodations, transportation, food, and sightseeing costs accounted for — can range from $4,000 to more than $8,000 for a week.
How To Afford A Vacation
If you want to save up for a vacation, you’re going to have to make it a priority. By reducing your expenses, though, you can stock away a bit of extra money each month for your vacation fund.
One way to do this? Watch over-the-air (OTA) television instead of paying for subscription services. You may be surprised to find out exactly how much you’re spending. Streaming services continue to multiply and add content at a dizzying rate. There are more than 200 streaming networks available in the U.S. now streamed by 36% more American consumers than before COVID-19. And while most services cost between $5 and $18 per month, data from the company TiVo data shows that, by mid-2021, consumers were each subscribed to an average of 8.8 streaming services each. That means an average household could spend $1,728 a year on streaming subscriptions!
Getting started with OTA is a straightforward process, and can save you hundreds of dollars per month. If you reduce your subscription services, you can easily add to your vacation fund every month. You will need to make a one-time investment: an outdoor or indoor antenna and possibly a DVR to record your favorite shows. Then, you’re ready to go.
Everything You Need To Get Started With OTA Television
Here are our top picks for the equipment you’ll need to watch over-the-air television.
If you live in an urban area or nearby suburb:
$64.99 from Amazon
This highly-rated indoor antenna is designed to receive frequencies 50+ miles away from broadcast towers. It easily grips smooth surfaces like walls or windows for optimal placement to pick up as many channels as possible.
Recommended antenna if you live in a far suburb or rural area:
$130.20 from Amazon
This powerful antenna has a range of 70+ miles and can be installed inside, outside or in the attic. It has UHF and VHF multi-directional elements designed to deliver reception in remote areas.
Pair your antenna with an OTA DVR to record your favorite shows:
You can record, pause, rewind and fast forward with an OTA DVR device. Here are the products we recommend:
- Tablo DUAL 128GB Over-the-Air [OTA] DVR: Record up to 80 HD hours and stream up to two free broadcast channels from your HDTV antenna simultaneously.
- Tablo QUAD 1TB Over-the-Air [OTA] DVR: Record up to 700 hours and stream up to four free broadcast channels from their over-the-air HDTV antenna simultaneously.
If you have an external hard drive sitting at home collecting dust, consider these options as cheaper alternatives. Simply connect your antenna and portable hard drive to these Tablo DVR devices and you’re ready to go.
- Tablo DUAL Lite: Equipped with built-in Wifi, it lets you position the antenna and DVR for the best signal reception.
- Tablo QUAD: Record up to four OTA channels simultaneously. This model connects to your router rather than your TV, giving you the option to stream live TV to any device.
If you need to purchase a portable hard drive, we recommend USB-connected portable hard drives (USB 2.0 or 3.0, 1 TB to 8 TB in size). These are the ones we recommend: WD 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive and the WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive.