5 Ways to Save on Your Summer Vacation


Just because you’re committed to a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to be stingy with your family’s vacations. With some planning, a little creativity and the right travel choices, any vacation budget is enough for a fun family trip.

  1. Stay (Relatively) Local
    Consider regional destinations with simple attractions, such as a lake or nature trails. Not enough to keep your family occupied for a week? Research other areas within a couple of hours of your first stop that feature different types of attractions, such as museums or shopping districts. You could take day trips from one base or stay in two or more towns over the course of your trip for variety.
  2. Consider Non-Hot Spots
    You know those vacation spots where everyone seems to go? Go somewhere else. Resort areas fall in and out of favor over the years, but chances are these spots are in beautiful locations. Look for bed and breakfasts or cabin rentals near an old resort or other formerly popular destination.
  3. Add Free Activities to the Mix
    Alternate paid activities with free stuff you’ve researched in advance. Search online for village and county websites, which often include visitor information. If a visitor’s bureau or association exists, call them and ask about attractions for children and teens. Tripadvisor.com and other travel sites list area attractions and feature traveler reviews.
  4. Go Grocery Shopping
    Buy snacks, sandwich ingredients for lunch and a rotisserie chicken for dinner to eliminate a few restaurant meals. Upscale stores with delis, bakeries and even sushi counters have prepared meals that are expensive on a grocery budget but save you big on vacation.
  5. Limit Hotel Expenses
    Staying with friends for a night or two saves you on hotels without burdening buddies with a long visit. Still having trouble doing it all within your budget? Eliminate one night. Your family will never remember that they had a six-day vacation instead of a full week away, and you’ll have an extra day to do laundry and recover from your trip.