When it comes to affordable summer vacation fun, there are plenty of family-friendly options available.
Camping trip? City safari? Whether you’re planning ahead or sneaking off last-minute, a good time is within reach this summer. Here are some ideas for having a great time – without breaking the bank.
Choosing Your Vacation Destination
Some of the best places to vacation are right in your back yard (everyone loves a good staycation!). But if you’re in the mood to venture out, consider a road trip to your closest big city or local attraction. You’ll save by skipping airfare – and you’ll have access to your own vehicle vs. needing to rent one during your stay.
If you’re on the East Coast, consider a quick visit to New York state. It boasts attractions from the Catskills to the Hudson Valley to Times Square. If you’re on the West Coast, think about a cheap romantic getaway to Monterey, Cambria, Carmel or Napa Valley. Open a bottle of wine and simply relax. Want a kid-friendly destination? Cities like Indianapolis, Dallas and Boston offer options for the whole family. Kids will enjoy visiting a children’s museum (check websites for special pricing and “free” days). There are plenty of historical attractions, too. Look for restaurants where kids can eat free or have a picnic lunch with items from a local farmer’s market.
Vacation Budgeting Basics
Once you’ve decided where to go, establish a budget for your trip. Decide what you want to splurge on and what you can skip. Consider these options when planning your last-minute trip:
- Rent a condo or Airbnb that has a kitchen to save on meals instead of eating out. One quick trip to the local grocery store and you’re set.
- Stay with friends who live in your getaway location—and then let them stay at your house next.
- Check last-minute deal sites like Hotel Tonight if you need a place to stay. They often offer steeply discounted rates for travelers.
- Travel during the “off season.” If the weather isn’t a factor for you, this is your best bet for avoiding tourists and pricey hotel rooms.
- Download Gas Buddy to locate gas stations nearby while you’re on the road and view current prices. Sometimes driving one more mile can save you lots.
Plenty of Ways to Save on Travel
No matter where you decide to travel, it’s all about the company you’re with. It’s easy to have an enjoyable trip when you make the most of your time together (who doesn’t love a good road trip game?). Whether you decide to camp for free under the stars or stay at a hotel that offers free breakfast, there are all kinds of ways to save on your summer vacation. Pick somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and hit the road.