5 Tips for an Affordable Summer Vacation
It’s summer! A time for running through sprinklers, juice pops in the warm sun, and family trips to remember for a lifetime—all of which, unfortunately, cost money. Luckily, it’s not too hard to have your fun in the sun and save on the price of said fun at the same time. You just need to know how to cut prices without cutting corners.
Stay Away from the Crowds
Yes, it might be tempting to fly the whole family to Orlando for a Disney summer vacation, but it’s important to consider the concept of supply and demand. During peak tourism season, prices will be higher as resorts, hotels, and attractions become flush with customers. Vacationing somewhere with less clamoring travelers can both assure you a more comfortable stay and remove a great deal of cost.
If you must go with the flow and visit somewhere during the peak season, try staying a town or two away from your destination. The price of gas for a short drive can be worth the drop in hotel and food costs.
Watch for the Discounts
Keeping an eye open in advance of your trip can help you save a few bucks on airfare, hotel rooms, attraction tickets and more. This goes double if you’re flexible about the location and dates of your trip. The prices of airfare and hotel rooms naturally fluctuate over time so if you’re watching carefully, you’ll be able to strike when the price is lowest and gain the best advantage on special deals.
In addition, signing up for rewards programs or following hotels and airlines on their social media accounts can help you take advantage of special limited-offer or members-only promotions. This might mean a few more emails in your inbox, but it could also mean substantial savings. If you travel often for business, frequent flyer or free-stay programs are a great way to rack up points towards your summer vacation by spending the money you were going to anyway.
For a homier option than hotels, consider renting a studio apartment or condo. Sites like Airbnb and HomeAway have made renting local villas, cabins, and even full houses (if you’re planning a family get-together) a popular and cost-effective option for many travelers. Short-term renting can give you more flexibility in location and amenities, which means you ultimately can have more control over your lodging budget.
Avoid Flying Fees
Airfare fees have been on the rise with extra charges for things like headphones, in-flight meals, and baggage checking. Though flying is still generally cheaper than driving for trips over 250 miles, these extra fees can make it a pain. Packing your own headphones and snacks, as well as optimizing your carry-on capacity with bags like our Toursafe™ AT21, will help you keep costs down.
Skip the Restaurants
Dining out is one of the biggest vacation expenses and, thankfully, also one of the easiest to replace in your budget. The first step has already been mentioned: rent someplace with a kitchen, if you can! What you’ll lose in the glamor of not having to clean dishes, you’ll make up for in money saved. For an added bonus, buying local foods can let your taste buds get in on the get-away.
Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego, California. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them on their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by following their adventure travel blog.