8 Budget-Friendly Vacation Ideas for Summer

Posted by npocpas1 npocpas1

It’s that time of year again, summertime is making its way to center stage and many of us are gearing up for a vacay. We work hard all year and hard work deserves a reward – but what if we don’t want to blow so much of the money we’ve been working hard to earn? Although budget isn’t a concern for every individual or family looking to vacation, it is most certainly a concern for much of the population. Without strategic planning, vacations can be very expensive, and prices are only rising year by year.

So, how can you take a solo vacay, a couple’s trip or a family vacay this summer without breaking the bank? We have some ideas for you!

1. Camping or Backpacking Trip

I don’t know about you but when I was growing up my family couldn’t afford many elaborate or costly vacations. Our go-to was always camping. Campsites are cheap if you’re into tent sleeping but you can also rent an RV or a cabin (if you want to price up). You can extend the stay for a week or more since lodging is so reasonably priced and therefore get a longer break from reality. You can (and probably should) pack up a bunch of food for the week – saving you on expensive restaurant meals which tend to add up quickly. Depending on the location you choose to camp, there can be plenty of activities to entertain a range of ages: bicycling, hiking, lake activities, beach activities, sports, board games, reading and so much more.

2. Beach Vacation

Visiting the beach is a great way to take advantage of what nature has to offer. Whether you camp near a beach or stay at a reasonably priced Air Bnb or Hotel – the beach has plenty of activities to offer. You can pack up some food in a cooler, grab some umbrellas and chairs, grab some supplies and head out for the day. Between sun tanning, playing in the water, building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, frisbee, surfing, boogie boarding, paddle boarding, reading or any other time passing activity that attracts your attention – who could be bored at the beach?! To avoid peak costs, you can choose a beach in a less popular area where lodging is more reasonably priced. You can also choose weekdays when less people are booking.

3. Stay-cation

This may not sound exciting at first thought, but a staycation can be a lot of fun and it can save you cost on lodging, in order to allow you to spend more of your budget on activities and experiences. Decide the dates that you would like your staycation to span between and block them off of your calendar. You can decide to stay at home for this time (free lodging) or you could see if a nearby friend or family member would let you stay with them.

Tour your own city in a way that you don’t normally do. Take advantage of surrounding museums, zoos, beaches, arcades, comedy shows, movie theaters, escape rooms, performances, unique experiences, restaurants and more! You can pack multiple experiences into one day – just like a vacation. If it’s an option in your area, consider catching the train to an area with several options for entertainment and spend the day experiencing different options in that area. Incorporate days that include more down time such as laying on the beach or reading at a park, going to the movie theater or having a picnic. Plan to eat the way you would on vacation, so that you aren’t worrying about getting groceries and cooking every meal (or plan meals in advance and have them prepped). Do whatever you need to do in order to fully immerse yourself in the staycation, ensuring that you still get to unplug and go into vacation mode even though you are so close to home or actually at home!

4. Mid-week Vacation

Taking a mid-week vacation is a pretty simple way to save money. Most people want to vacation during the weekend (or at least have a weekend included in their longer trip). That means prices for lodging and even experiences or performances are cheaper during the week. There will also be less crowds and for some of us that means more relaxation!

5. Get a last-minute deal

Last minute deals are a great way to snag a discount on a hotel stay. This may be a stressful option for someone who likes to plan ahead but if you can make it work, the discount will work in your favor. Online travel hubs like Groupon and Expedia pride themselves on offering great last-minute vacation deals, while HotelTonight allows you to score major deals on a room by booking the day of!

6. Home Swap

Do you know any other families who would be interested in a staycation? Or any families who live out of town and would be interested in swapping homes with you for the week? It’s a little out of the ordinary but a home swap would be another great option for saving on expensive lodging. Just make sure you leave their home as you found it or better!

7. Look For Free Events

Wherever you end up on your vacation, there are bound to be free events in the area. Do some research to see if you can find some entertainment, such as a free concert at a bar, a local food festival, a block party or even a bar that has karaoke. It’s important to have an open mind and remember that it’s not always what you’re doing but who you’re doing it with that matters, as well as your attitude. Take advantage of whatever you find.

8. Plan Meals and Snacks

You don’t need to do this for EVERY vacation meal but planning ahead and packing food can save you some major dollars when it comes to feeding yourself and/or your family. Purchasing every meal and snack on vacation really adds up. If you’re driving somewhere, bring a cooler filled with prepared food. Throw power bars, trail mix and any handheld snacks in your luggage. Take this tip to whatever length benefits you, whether it’s just a few snacks or enough food to span your entire trip (such as if you’re camping).

We hope these tips help you save some money this summer or on any future vacation. Just because you’re working within a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t take time off to enjoy yourself. It’s not always about how much money you have, it’s about how you manage it. Enjoy!