Money Saving Ideas for Your Summer Vacation Planning
1. Get started ASAP.
You should get started on your summer vacation plans as early as winter or the new year, giving you ample time to see how much the trip might cost and to budget for it over several months. But, we are where we are, and it’s easy to let a few things slip in our hectic daily lives.
Still, if it’s come to mind recently, you should jump on it. Not only will you decide where the family will go, but you’ll also have to make it work with your budget.
And, while we plan most vacations choosing where we want to go first, it might be wise to do just the opposite. If you’re wanting an affordable summer vacation, you can start by browsing through pricing using tools like Google Flights, Priceline, Momondo, Skyskanner and others. From there, you can select the places that the family wouldn’t mind visiting, and then find cheap airline tickets.
2. Plan your trip around surge pricing.
Just like your ride-sharing app, travel is also prone to surge pricing when there’s high demand. It’s already a given that summer trips will be more expensive, especially during peak season. All the kids are out of school, so it’s a travel opportunity for a lot of families. But, you could plan around surge pricing by taking your trip at the very start or the very end of the children’s summer vacations, when flights should be a tad cheaper. (Note, this is a good strategy, too, if your family is dead-set on going to Disney World.)
You’ll likely see airline fare increase the closer the date of your trip is. That being said, ideally, you would book at least two months in advance for a regular trip, but you may want to add a little more buffer for high travel times, like summer. And, lastly, there are specific days of the week that are cheaper to fly (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) and those that are more expensive (other weekend days).
3. Try vacation rentals instead of hotels.
Sometimes, home rental apps like Airbnb or HomeAway can be cheaper than staying at a four-star hotel for a week. Though, if you subscribe to certain hotel loyalty programs, to which you may have accrued points throughout the year from your work trips, feel free to put those to use. And, don’t forget that some hotels may offer discounts based on some of your other memberships, like AAA or AARP. If you end up going the hotel route, you’ll want to check for any additional costs, like resort fees, that may up your bill quite a bit.
4. Make your own meals and snacks.
You may be able to make some meals in the lodging of your choice, depending on the setup of course. And, if you have a refrigerator — whether it’s a mini one, or not — you’ll be able to store leftovers or any perishable snacks. This will save you money during your vacation, as you won’t be spending on three meals, plus snacks, each day you’re away from home.
5. Look for free events.
Going to a new city or country can quickly grow more expensive, especially if you tack on more and more tourist-types of activities. Many times, though, you’ll find that cities — just like your own hometown — hold free attractions and events, whether it’s a free concert at a local bar or some type of food festival. Check out the local media — newspapers, magazines, etc. — to find any events that might interest you and your family.
1. Explore your city or surrounding cities.
How many times have you made a mental note to check out an attraction in your own city? Our best guess is you may have not made it there quite yet. But, it’s easy to hop in your car, and explore places you’ve never been before — or those that you haven’t visited in a long time — in your own city or within your region or state. And, just like other cities, yours will host free events and attractions for great entertainment.
2. Camp out in your backyard.
Build an indoor fortress with pillows and blankets, or set up shop in your backyard. Make some s’mores and tell spooky stories around a “campfire” as though you were secluded in the woods. This is an affordable option that gets your kids active and outdoors.
3. Try taking the world home.
These days, we’ve got the whole world in our hands, thanks to our high-speed Internet connections. Visit a new part of the world by taking virtual tours online, or make an “around-the-world” trip with new tchotchkes, food and other cultural items from specific countries or regions.