It's not too late! Summer Vacation Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank
I don’t know about you, but as soon as the temperature starts to go up, I feel a weight lift off of my shoulders, and I begin to look forward to all of the fun stuff to do outside. I start dreaming about amazing vacation spots with water and sand, and before I know it, I’m on Amazon adding bathing suits and sunscreen to my cart (if you’ve ever seen me, you’ll know I need lots and lots of sunscreen). But then, reality sets in, and I realize that a proper vacation takes some planning. So, I reluctantly close out the browser with the grass huts for rent in Bora Bora and sit down to see how much vacation I can really afford.
If you’re like me and a grass hut in Bora Bora is a lot outside of your price range too, no worries. You’re not stuck sitting at home watching the dust settle. You (we) can still have a fantastic summer vacation without taking out a second mortgage, thanks to these vacation tips.
1. Last minute trips are always expensive! Start planning your vacations 6 – 12 months in advance and take advantage of discounted airfare, hotel rates, and car rentals. Even if it’s too early to book the trip, you can start price shopping and find out when vendors offer their discounted rates.
2. Summer vacation is appealing because it’s warm and the kids are out of school. However, traveling off-season allows for cheaper accommodations and oftentimes even fewer crowds. Planning a trip later in the year to a warmer destination may be just the ticket (see what I did there? J).
3. Never fly on a weekend if you can help it. Peak travel dates = more moolah. Change your flight dates to a weekday and reap the rewards.
4. Speaking of rewards, if you have a rewards credit card, now is the time to use it. Earn rewards on your trip, or if you’ve been using it throughout the year, you should be able to cash in some points for travel. This card is my go-to, in case you were wondering.
5. I know that I already said to plan ahead, but as my former boss used to say, “Proper planning prevents poor performance.” One really helpful way to do that is with a savings account for a dedicated purpose, like a vacation. Many financial institutions offer a holiday/vacation club account that you can contribute to as often as you want, and the funds can automatically transfer to your primary account either in the summer or winter – it’s up to you. If you have plenty of will power, you can open a regular savings account or a certificate that matures ahead of your planned vacation – just don’t touch the money until then!
6. Maybe the big vacation can be scheduled for next year to allow time to save. Staying at home doesn’t mean staying in your house. No matter where you live, there is something you can do to get away. Check out this handy list of the Best Vacation Spots in Every U.S. State. You’re bound to find something interesting.
1. Who doesn’t like a road trip? There is no reason to spend the money on expensive airfare. Hit the road and enjoy the ride instead.
2. If travel just isn’t going to happen this year, there’s nothing wrong with that. There are always local activities available to get out of the house. Make a “Staycation Schedule” (I posted mine from last year below), and do something fun every day. Even though my saint of a mother-in-law watched the kids on Saturday, the plan changed, and it was still worth it to have everything we all wanted to do lined up. We even somehow added a baseball game during this week. Check local guides in your area to find all of the fun summer activities to take advantage of them. Surprisingly, many of the ones near my house were free!
1. Hopefully, you already have a budget and know how much disposable income you have. If not, stop what you’re doing and start that right now. After you have it, you can determine how much you need to save for your vacation and what you can afford. This eliminates the need to go into debt for your time away.
2. When budgeting, plan for everything! It’s easy to plug in numbers for travel costs and lodging, but what about spending money, activities or excursions, dining, gas, parking and tipping? Did you forget to pack a toothbrush? You’ll want to set up a certain amount as a buffer for the unexpected because you know something will happen. When you set your budget, stick to it! Vacation is about making memories with your family, or getting away from the day-to-day stress and relaxing. I promise just shaking up the routine is enough to revive you, so it’s not always about the money.
3. Most importantly, have fun! Take time for yourself and unplug. Take in the moment and just enjoy it. Vacations are special because they don’t happen often. No matter what you do, take a few moments to appreciate the time and the surroundings because before you know it, it’ll be time to go back to work.
Coming up next week, we’ll cover surviving a financial hardship. If you have a question that you’ve been dying to ask us, let me know and I’ll include it in my post.
Krista Kyte is a personal finance blogger and personal banker with over 17 years of experience in the financial industry. Krista is passionate about helping our members understand their financial situations. She writes tips that will help consumers reach, and maintain, financial security, and start living the life they’ve always wanted.