9 Smart Ways to Save Money on Summer Vacation

9 Smart Ways to Save Money on Summer Vacation
BY Charla Myers
Jun 2, 2018
 - Updated 
Jun 4, 2019
Key Takeaways:
  • Save on summer travel and still have fun.
  • Planning ahead for food and shelter can save you a lot.
  • Destination bargains abound.

Vacations can be expensive. They often involve airfare, hotels, and lots of restaurant meals. But getting away doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are a few tips to make your next getaway more affordable, whether you’re traveling abroad or staying close to home.

Do your research

Plan in advance and compare prices on airfare and lodging. If you’re flexible with dates, consider flying out mid-week. It can be significantly cheaper than traveling during the weekend. And if you’re a member of a group such as AAA or AARP, you might be eligible for additional discounts, so remember to ask ahead of time.

1. Pack light

Airlines are starting to charge for everything, and if you are bringing two or more bags, expect to pay extra. So if possible, try to pack light and keep it to one piece of luggage per person. It won’t just save you money, it will save your back too.

2. Go grocery shopping

Plan out what you are going to eat before you leave for your trip. It’s fine to dine at a few local restaurants, but if you want to eat on the cheap, visit a grocery store for fast, easy snacks and meals. That way you’ll keep your hunger pangs at bay and keep more money in your wallet.

3. Rent a home

If you’re traveling with friends or family and don’t need daily housekeeping service or other hotel amenities, this can be a great option. Furnished home rentals have become popular in recent years because they’re easy to book and often cost less than hotels on a per-person basis.

4. Know your transportation options

Not every city has public transportation, and even if it does, it’s not always great. Do a little research before your trip to see if it makes more financial sense to rent a car, take a cab, hop on public transit, or use an alternative method of getting around.

5. Download free travel apps

Your smart phone can be a handy money-saving travel buddy. There are apps for everything including guides, maps, phrasebooks, and more. You can get some great ideas for inexpensive things to do, cheap eats, and how to get around affordably—right at your fingertips.

6. Travel off-season

If you want to save money, avoid going to your vacation spot during peak season. For example, if you’re heading to a beach destination, try to go in the late spring or early fall. The prices are lower, the weather is still nice, and there are fewer tourists around.

7. Take a road trip

If you’re looking for a more affordable vacation option, consider skipping flights altogether and reach your destination by car. Pack some food and entertainment, and let the road lead you on your next adventure!

8. Plan a day trip

A getaway doesn’t have to include an overnight stay. You might find nearby attractions that you haven’t visited before. Whatever your interests are, you can still get some well-deserved rest and relaxation without having the additional expense of a hotel.

Even though it’s smart to be frugal, splurging on a restaurant meal or a fun activity can make your vacation extra memorable. Just be sure to check out your options in advance and save up for your trip. With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy an awesome vacation and still stay on budget.