Summer vacations don't have to be expensive.  With some extra time, and a little bit of planning, you can save tons and enjoy a fun and relaxing vacation (without worrying about the budget).  Find a few ways on how you can save on summer travel below.

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Summer vacations don’t have to be expensive.  With some extra time, and a little bit of planning, you can save tons and enjoy a fun and relaxing vacation (without worrying about the budget).  Find a few ways on how you can save on summer travel below.

Download my FREE Summer Savings Checklist

How to Save on Summer Travel

1. Save on gas and plan a one gas tank mini trip

Visit places which only take one day to drive to, or better yet, one day to drive there and back.

Parents.com had a GREAT idea:

Instead of hopping in the car to drive all day, plan out a one-tank mini-trip. You’ll still feel like you’re getting away, and there are probably some awesome nearby attractions that you’ve been meaning to get to for ages — now’s the time!

My sisters family did this last year.  They went to 4 different camp sites in the state and each one was a 1-3 hour drive.  They saved money buy making a whole “day drive” turn into a week drive, and by camping instead.  Each of the state parks had different activities they could participate in.

2. Share with friends and family

If you are vacationing with others see if there is room to share a hotel or rental car.

3. Stay with friends and family

Instead of buying a hotel or vacation home, see if you have any relatives near by who might have a room or two to spare.  Since you’ll most likely be exploring, you won’t be in their house a ton, and when you are, you can catch up!

4. Check out owner rentals or vacation homes

VRBO is a great website, and there are many others.  Some prices can be similar to a hotel, but if you have a large family, these homes are typically much cheaper when you need more rooms.

5. Set a money goal for your vacation

This will help you pick vacation spots, and not feel the “hole in your pocket” when you come back and realized you’ve over spent.

6. Plan your trip around a deal

Instead of picking where you want to go, then finding good deals, swap your thinking.  Find the BEST deals and then pick those trips.

Download my FREE Summer Savings Checklist 

7. Save when you fly

  • Bring along your own snacks, and an empty water bottle.  Be sure the snacks are easy to get to, as you’ll need to get them out when going through security
  • Use your own Ipad and earphones with pre-downloaded games and movies instead of paying for wi-fi.
  • Most people say flying on Tuesdays will save you money.
  • Take advantage of the luggage amount you’re able to bring… don’t pay for checked luggage if you don’t have to.
  • Most of the time where ever you go, there will be laundry facilities.  Pack less clothing, so you don’t have to pay for checked luggage.
  • Search for the BEST deals.  Just because you always fly Southwest doesn’t mean they are the cheapest or best.  Try different booking websites and find some cheaper flight options.

8. Use the internet to find your best deal

Check out multiple websites, resorts, hotels, airports, and anything before setting where you’ll be going.  Make sure you really are finding the best deal out there.

9. Try an all inclusive resort or cruise

This allows you to pay for entertainment, room, and food all in one spot.  Typically you save money, and can eat as much as you want.

10. Get refunds for price drops

This definitely works!  Keep checking your flight or hotel after you’ve purchased it.  If the price drops, you can call and ask for a refund.  We saved $30 on our hotel last year from doing this, and it was easy-peasy.

11. Check out vacation bundles

If you can’t find an all inclusive deal, check out vacation bundles where you purchase flight, hotel and car all in one package.

12. Take advantage of membership discounts

AARP and AAA are a few off the top of my head.  Check what memberships you’re a part of and see if they offer any travel discounts.

13. Redeem points

Most credit cards offer points for hotels or flights.  Some points is way better than none.  $20 saved is still $20 saved.

Download my FREE Summer Savings Checklist

14. Try planning a list minute trip

And let the deals be your destination.  Make it a game.  Plan a vacation this specific week, then the week before search for the best deals and be surprised where you’ll be vacationing.

15. Comparable timing

If you can’t plan a list minute trip, and you need to plan far in advance, try playing around with a few days or weeks.  Sometimes there are activities at that vacation spot which spike prices that you may not be aware of.  Changing your vacation just 1 or 2 days can make a difference sometimes.

16. Save on food

  • Book a room with a kitchen so you can make your own meals
  • Be sure to find rooms with free continental breakfasts to save money 1 meal a day
  • Grab some quick sandwiches from the grocery store

17. Just plan a stay-cation instead

Each day pick one free activity to  focus on (Read more about free activities here).  You can also get another family involved with your stay-cation to make it more fun.

18. Avoid the summer holidays

If you can, plan your vacation as far away from holidays as possible… sure you might get one extra day off work, but you won’t make up for it in the price you’ll pay for flight, hotel and car.

19. Create your own backyard camp out

Plan to spend the whole day in your back yard… to make it more fun you can even turn off your electricity and water and make it feel “real”.  Spend a few days ahead of time making some fun outdoor games, and planing a “neighborhood hike”.

Download my FREE Summer Savings Checklist

20. Explore the great outdoors

Your backyard isn’t great for camping?  That’s ok, camping is still cheaper than a hotel.  Find some local campgrounds and explore nature right in your town.

21. Stay off the beaten path

Stay 30 min from the big city you are vacationing at.  You’ll have a bit of a longer drive to and from at the beginning and end of the day, but you’ll save a lot of money by staying in a smaller town.

22. Theme Parks

Finding a local theme park is a great way to save on your vacation.  You don’t have to travel all day, OR stay at a hotel.  You can even probably sneek in your own food, which is easier since you’ll be coming from home instead of a hotel.

23. Invite your friends and family to vacation with you

Have out of town friends come to your place for a vacation this year instead of you always visiting them.

In conclusion

Remember, the whole point of a vacation is to spend time with family, and take a break from life.  Sometimes a little “under planning” and not having your days full of activities will be a blessing.  My top 3 favorite vacations include staying at the beach all week long, and camping all week long.  We didn’t go to theme parks or shopping malls we just played and enjoyed the great outdoors.  So, pick a way to save on summer travel, and take some time away to enjoy your family this summer!  Head here on some of be best budget worthy places to travel in the US.

What was your favorite family vacation?  Comment below.

Further Reading:

How to Cut on Summer Costs

How to save on Summer Electricity

Free Summer Activities

If you liked this post, please let us know by leaving a comment below and clicking those share buttons to tell your friends. As always, we appreciate you taking a minute of your time to spread the word about preparedness.

References:

The Simple Dollar

Parents

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