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Slumping Economy Prompts Americans to Seek Frugal Vacations

With the summer vacation season already well under way in the United States, there's further evidence of the impact that the recession is having on the American consumer. Many have scaled back travel plans, or just stayed at home; helping to popularize the term 'staycation.' Even those who haven't lost a job are embracing the new frugality. Outdoor equipment store REI reports sales of family tents are up by 20 percent.

With three children, including five-year-old twin boys and a 19-year-old, to look after, Christine Ashley and husband Mark Shanahan are very busy in the best of times.

Like many Americans, the troubled economy has caused them to re-think their summer plans.

For British-born Mark Shanahan - a stone mason - it means less time to play with the kids, as he focuses on his business.

"This winter was totally dead, so I was out there trying to hustle for work, old clients and trying to find new clients," Shanahan says, "So, with the work coming in for the summer, then my priority is to bring it in, keep working, keep it rolling, so that it will go up to Christmas."

For the young, the school-free summer months are a chance to have fun. For working parents, keeping children occupied on a tighter budget is a challenge.

Christine Ashley - a teacher - says the recession has forced them to get inventive, especially when it comes to accommodations.

"Bunking on people's floors, or pitching a tent in their backyard, or finding a nearby campsite," she says, "So, I think the kids will remember this summer as being the summer that we, you know, lived in tents!"

From camping in a yurt, to staying with relatives, the family has found ways to cut costs but still have fun.

And when the weather is hot, or the kids get tired of playing around the house there's the nearby pool - a staple of summer life in many neighborhoods; appreciated all the more as a welcome family diversion in troubling times.