Cheap Summer Travel

Ah, summer.  The road trip season.  So with that in mind, how do you take a vacation that is fun, but won’t break the bank.  I typically suggest camping as a good option for some people, but if you don’t have the equipment try to borrow some and try it before investing too much money in supplies.  Spending $500 on gear you don’t use more than once can turn a money saving venture into a money wasting one very quickly.

Even if you don’t camp, I’ve tried to make some of this tips generic.

  1. Bring you own food or buy it at a grocery store.  Even backing a few basic supplies to do lunch/breakfast on the road can save you a lot of money over a two week trip.  All it really takes is a bit of planning a cooler.  We typically take things that travel well like harder fruits or veggies like apples and carrots over items like pears that bruise easier.
  2. Consider a shorter trip.  People often underestimate trips that are closer to home.  Beyond having more time to relax, you can also save gas and see explore places you never been and can get back to easily.  We typically alternate years with bigger/longer trips every second year.  That way we balance costs with enjoyment.
  3. Leave later and come back earlier.  Want to have a really great trip?  Then leave a day later and come back a day early.  Having that time to unwind at either end makes things SO MUCH easier.  You can ease back into your regular life without the shock of coming home at 6pm the day before you got back to work and having to buy groceries, wash the car, do laundry and unpack.
  4. Seek out the out of the way.  People often travel to the big parks or cities as the main places to see and do, but going out of the way can often result in unique memories as well as cost savings.  Camping fees, hotels attraction fees are all often cheaper in smaller centers so next time try out the smaller towns you might be surprised how much fun you have have there.
  5. Be flexible.  I’ve gotten away from having a set schedule on trips and now more often than not wing it with nothing better than a vague plan of I want to see these things and be away for about 10 days.   By doing that you can often find good deals at the last minute or linger in places you happen to enjoy more than you thought.

So there are my tips? Do you have some other ones?  If so please share.

6 thoughts on “Cheap Summer Travel”

  1. Great tips.

    You are right about the short trips (great balance with holiday time and getting to relax every so often). I am going on a 3 1/2 week honeymoon so we will see how I feel like after.

  2. Well this isn’t for everyone, I know, but I’m swapping my home with someone in New York City. We’ll basically have free lodging in one of the most expensive locations in the US. With the free flight on frequent flyer miles and a kitchen to cook some of our meals (and a relaxing place to come home to, rather than just a small hotel room), we’ll barely spend more than if we were at home.

    Most museums have one evening a week that’s free, there are free summer concerts, movies, and so much else to do that is already free, it shouldn’t break the bank at all!

  3. Syd,

    Well that is interesting idea. Let us know how it turns out with a post on your blog. I’m curious about it.


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