Believe it or not, planning a vacation that's fun, affordable and kid-friendly might not be as hard as it seems.
In fact, a study conducted last year by home-sharing website HomeAway and the University of Texas found that the cost of the trips vacationers took, be it $100 or $5,000, had very little effect on the memories they made along the way. Instead, the presence of family members and friends improved the vacation memories of those surveyed by at least 20 percent.
If you're taking children on your next journey, focus on planning a vacation full of new experiences rather than expensive upgrades. The 2017 Kidpinion Travel Survey from HomeAway and FamilyFun magazine found that 46 percent of kids said their favorite part of vacation is seeing new places and trying new things.
Prioritizing new experiences doesn't have to mean jetting off to someplace exotic (though it certainly can). It could mean seeking out hidden gems close to home and saving big as a result.
Whether you're headed to visit your favorite Disney characters or want a weekend away in the mountains, home-sharing could be a great way to reduce the cost of your next vacation. Websites like HomeAway, Airbnb and FlipKey make it easy to search for a house that fits your family's budget and unique needs.
Renting a house, cabin or condo could even get you more amenities than a typical hotel, which could help keep your kids occupied after a day full of activities. Thirty-six percent of parents and 38 percent of kids in the Kidpinion Travel Survey said they would rather stay in a vacation rental than any other type of accommodation.
Click ahead to see eight U.S. home rentals around $300 a night or less that are packed with features your kids will be talking about long after your vacation ends.