Summer is just about here, and the chances are strong that you’re planning to take a vacation before fall rolls around. However, if you’re thinking about hitting the beach, taking a cruise, or heading to a rustic hideaway somewhere up in the mountains, make sure you don’t end up sending yourself into bankruptcy. While everyone enjoys a getaway, the truth is that about 74% of people go into debt after taking our summer vacations. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Here are some great tips so you can plan an affordable summer vacation on a budget.
1. Make a Vacation Budget
One of the best ways to ensure you have an affordable summer vacation is to plan an affordable summer vacation. Determine exactly how much money you have available to spend, and then build your entire vacation around that. For example, if you have $2,000 earmarked for your family to plan a vacation, determine how much you can allocate for travel to and from the location, lodging, food, and fun activities. Then, determine which vacation venue will work both for you as well as your budget. Doing so will ensure that you have a fun summer vacation without spending more than you can afford.
2. Stay Close to Home
It’s easy to dismiss the staycation as a poor excuse for a real vacation. However, if you plan it right, a summer vacation close to home can be terrific. Plot out all the fun and affordable activities that are within driving distance of your home, such as museums, tourist attractions, and parks. Then, make a detailed plan to visit them over a week or two. Since most of these locations are relatively close to home, you can scout them out ahead of time to make a good plan. You may even be able to find discounts that are only available to locals. You’ll also be able to allocate money that you’d have otherwise spent on travel to enjoy your vacation more. Finally, since you likely end up back in your home at the end of each activity, your negligible lodging costs will make a close-by summer vacation affordable.
3. Head to the Woods
If you’re looking for an affordable vacation, especially if you have a family, you should consider camping. Heading to the great outdoors can be a great way to have a summer vacation without breaking the bank. In most cases, camping is extremely affordable. You’ll need gear such as a tent, sleeping bags, and perhaps a cooking stove; however, these are relatively inexpensive. Once you buy your camping gear, you’ll have it forever, too. There are hundreds of locations around the United States where you can camp free. With some, you don’t even need to worry about booking a spot far ahead of time, either. Finally, camping with your family can reduce stress and bring you closer together than nearly any other vacation activity you can plan. If you’re looking for an affordable summer vacation, it’s never too late to head to the woods.
4. Pack a Lunch
On most family vacations, people end up spending 20 to 25% of their overall vacation budget on food. A great way to plan an affordable summer vacation is to think ahead and keep your food costs low. Try to stay in a hotel or an Airbnb where you have access to a kitchen; if you can prepare your own food, you’ll be able to eat in more and avoid high restaurant costs. Packing a cooler with lunches and snacks while on the road can help keep food costs down as well. If you do plan to visit a restaurant, make sure to do some research in advance. Scout out the most affordable restaurants in the area before heading out for dinner, and you’ll be able to keep your food costs from getting out of control.
5. Take Advantage of Technology
If you want to plan an affordable vacation this summer, remember that you live in the 21st century, and take advantage of all the great technology available to keep those vacation costs under control. Marketplace apps such as Groupon can help you find great deals for food and entertainment, so you enjoy yourself while you save some serious money. Searching for a place to stay on apps such as Airbnb can save you a ton on lodging, and let you enjoy amenities you’d never enjoy in an economy hotel. Finally, apps such as Uber and Lyft can help you get wherever you have to go while on vacation and save you money while doing so. There’s too much technology out there to list, so make sure you do your homework and put tech to work for you this summer vacation.
It’s never too late to plan an affordable summer vacation. If you use the tips here, you can enjoy your summer break and not spend a fortune doing it. Take the advice provided here to heart, and start preparing for a fun, affordable vacation today!