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5 Ways to Save on Your Summer Vacation

Summer VacationTaking a summer vacation is a great opportunity to get away from work for a week or more and spend time with your family or friends. Whether you choose to head to a new destination or back to a spot that you have visited many times, your summer vacation is likely to be one of the highlights of the year.

Of course, vacations aren’t free. Balancing the planning of a great trip with the costs that come with it can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank in order to plan a trip that everyone will enjoy.

# 1 – Stay Close to Home

One of the biggest expenses associated with vacations is the cost of traveling to your destination. If you take a trip across the country, you will have to purchase costly plane tickets in addition to likely renting a car when you arrive.

However, if you pick out a destination that is closer to home and allows you to drive, you can save on both plane tickets and car rental. Take a look on a map and you might be surprised to learn how many great options are close enough for a road trip.

#2 – Avoid Tourist Traps

They are called ‘traps’ for a reason. While the touristy spots might have a few fun things to see and do on a vacation, the added cost usually just isn’t worth it. Instead, try picking a location that is a little less traveled to keep the costs more under control. Not only will you save money by avoiding tourist traps, you’ll also not have to deal with the clutter the cheap junk can create.

#3 – Don’t Go for Quite as Long

With good planning, you might be able to pack everything you would do during a week vacation into 4-5 days. Even cutting two nights off of your trip can save you a significant amount of money in hotel expenses. If you use this idea, make sure to put an itinerary together before you leave to take advantage of the time you have available as efficiently as possible.

#4 – Dine In While on Your Summer Vacation

This is a great way to save money, when possible. If you are able to find lodging with a kitchen, consider doing grocery shopping when you arrive for your trip and eating in as often as possible. One of the big costs of a vacation is dining out for every meal, so you can find some significant savings just by cooking some of your own meals. There are a variety of hotel chains that offer kitchenettes or free breakfasts, though we usually go with Starwood Properties so we can earn points as well.

We do this quite a bit when we go on vacation as it gives us extra time together as a family, not to mention being able to eat healthy as well.

#5 – Free Activities

Try to plan that includes activities which are mostly free or inexpensive. For example, visiting state or national parks is a great way to see some incredible sites on a budget. While you might have to pay small admissions charges to these locations, they will pale in comparison to more commercially-focused options. You might be surprised to learn just how many of these kinds of activities are located all around the country when you start to plan your trip.

 

What are some of your tips to save money on summer vacation? Where are you planning on going on vacation this year? Do you travel hack so you can travel for cheaper.

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Fundable.org

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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10 comments

  1. I would add to go on odd days, like mid-week. You can usually get airline fares much cheaper if you fly mid-week as well as hotels. I get emails from a hotel near where I live all of the time. During the week, they have special rates fro $59/night but on the weekends, the standard rate is $189/night.
    Jon @ Money Smart Guides recently posted…My First Money MemoriesMy Profile

  2. Plan early because the good and affordable hotels get booked up pretty quickly!
    The Money Spot recently posted…Jedi Mind Tricks-How Businesses Are Outsourcing Services Back To Their ClientsMy Profile

  3. We are planning to have a short summer vacation together with my daughter and my sister. Having an advanced booking will definitely save you money and of course you can choose the affordable room that perfect for your budget.
    Kate @ Money Propeller recently posted…Oops! I’ve Already Failed My New Year’s Financial GoalsMy Profile

  4. Doing a lot of research and setting a good budget for your summer vacation would be a good thing to do! We already bought a ticket and I also read lots of reviews and tips about the resort that we are going to visit.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted…Forex for Beginners: How to Choose a BrokerMy Profile

  5. Even if you don’t have a place you can cook at, plenty of hotels have small fridges in the room. When Mom and I go to FinCon, we go to the nearest grocery store and get some snacks for the room. This ranges from pretzels and candy to bread, cheese and meat. It keeps us from leaving the hotel every time we’re hungry at night.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…Do you want free money? Also (late) Freebie FridayMy Profile

  6. I would add to go on vacation in the off season (so it wouldn’t apply to the summer vacation title) but still, a good way to save money.
    Michelle recently posted…Breaking Bad Habits: The 15 Minute CleanMy Profile

  7. Great tips. I especially like the free activities. I always check the local event calendars for my destination to see what festivals and other fun things will happen while I’m there. Historical sites, museums and botanical gardens are some other good free/low-cost activities.
    Gary @ Super Saving TIps recently posted…Should You Trust Your Financial Advisor?My Profile

  8. I would stay at home! I kinda feel better (home buddy) inside than going to crowded places. And the heat! It’s so hot. I normally travel during off season. This is how I save money during summer.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Short Term Pain for Long Term GainMy Profile

  9. We go camping in the summer. It’s close to home and there are tons of free activities to do while camping. You swim, hike, bike and just enjoy nature. Usually there are guided hikes if you stay at a large park. It’s also inexpensive on food because you can cook on site for the most part. We do a couple of trips each summer. One with all the family and one with just the immediate family. Lots of fun!
    Thomas @ i need cash ASAP! recently posted…The Ultimate Guide To Earning Swagbucks… Earn $1,000+My Profile

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