Summer Vacation Plans on a Budget

By Kaitlin Hurtado on July 3, 2021

After months on end spent cooped up in your own living space due to the pandemic, all you want to do is probably spend the summer months out and about, just because you can. However, there can be plenty holding you back from taking the much-needed summer vacation of your dream — commitments, your work schedule, and most importantly, your budget (or lack thereof). It can be hard to dream up a summer vacation, only to realize it’s not exactly feasible with your current schedule and budget. That being said, that doesn’t mean you have to spend the upcoming months cooped in day after day because your funds are sitting lower than you would like. Not sure where to start when it comes to making summer vacation plans while keeping your budget in mind? Keep reading for different summer vacation plans on a budget.

Photo: Pexels

Enjoy the outdoors and go camping

Finally have enough of spending hours staring at a screen, whether it’s your work computer or your TV screen watching binge-watching Netflix? Why not spend your summer vacation camping. Depending on where you live, you may not even have to travel very far to reach a camping situation. Look up local campsites and the more activities available — hiking, swimming, or fishing in nearby rivers and lakes — the more things you can do without breaking the bank.

If you opt for a state or national park, you camp out in a tent or stay in nearby cabins or lodges. With camping, be sure to plan ahead as camping can come with unexpected costs — entrance fees, reservations, parking tickets, and so on.

Take your vacation on the go with a road trip

Grab a friend or two and plan your very own road trip. With road trips, you can make them as budget-friendly or extravagant as you want.

Depending on your budget, pool funds between a few friends and rent an RV to drive around in. You can eliminate the need to look for lodging that you would typically need with road trips as you can take your lodging on the go. Drive to your destination, or multiple, from various breaches and National Parks to other tourist destinations.

If RV living isn’t for you, take the old-fashioned route and simply take your car out for a drive. Plan out for a few stops where you can rest up at a hotel or Airbnb and stop wherever your heart desires.

Stay local and go to a nearby bed-and-breakfast or resort

Eliminate one of the largest costs of summer vacations — travel expenses — and stay local. Why take an entire plane to stay at a resort when you can drive an hour or two and stay at the very same kind of resort.

If you are staying local, you can also help give yourself some room for last-minute vacation time when you don’t have to spend an entire day traveling, or book flights in advance. While booking in advance may seem like a great way to save money, some resorts will offer last-minute deals or openings to reduce vacancies. Look for ways to save on a room — booking in the middle of the week, booking a last-minute room, staying a certain number of days.

Visit friends and family

As we come out of the pandemic and shift to our new normal, many of us have a list of friends and family to make plans with, after what was likely a year of no in-person contact with them. What better way to reconnect with them than taking a trip to visit them this summer? Whether it’s an aunt that lives in another state or college friends a short road trip away, you can shape your summer vacation plans around visiting those close to you. Give your friends and family a call to ask them if it would be okay to have a guest for a few days or a week this summer. This doesn’t mean freeload off of them for the entire duration of your stay, but it can help you eliminate the stress of finding somewhere to stay, and often be cheaper than having to rent a space or get a hotel room while on a summer vacation.

If your friends or family refuse to let you explicitly pay for your “rent” of staying in a guest room or crashing on their couch, look for other ways you can thank them for letting you spend time in their home. Cover the cost of some meals or groceries during your stay. Offer to pay gas if you are going to be taking advantage of their car during your stay. Gift them a “host/hostess basket” with their favorite snacks or goodies that they would enjoy.

With proper planning and budgeting, making summer vacation plans on a budget can be easier than you think. Give yourself a well-deserved break and spend time away with your very own summer vacation.

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