15 Tips for Saving Money on Your Summer Vacation

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Image adapted from iStock

Sum-sum-summertime. Flip flops, beach days and dreams of vacations.

Hubby and I have decided not to take a vacation this summer, so instead I have been dreaming about what it is I would do if we were going (mountains, see #3!) and listening to what others will be doing. Our staycation will consist of a pass to the local water park and then frequent trips to the zoo, park, and library, and I’m excited about those things but it’s still fun to dream!

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Here are the top three I continue to hear:

Theme parks. This seems to be big around here. That might be because of our close proximity to Florida and the fact that in the middle of summer you can often get onto any ride you want in the theme parks because it’s so hot everyone else has decided to do something near the water! The good thing: Most of the theme parks HAVE water! To do this type of vacation on a budget:

·         Sign up with the parks’ websites so you can get special emails with deals.

·         Go middle of the week and not around a holiday, like the 4th of July.

·         Check on-site accommodations, but I’ve had better luck just off site.

·         If going for multiple days, check out park hopper passes.

·         We got great deals on theme park tickets through AAA, so if you belong to this group or a similar one, see what they can do for the purchase of theme park tickets.

·         Also, consider lesser known parks over the bigger parks. You can have just as much fun and ride as many rides without paying the exorbitant expense you might at other places.

·         Check out amusementparks.com for discounted tickets.

·         You might also find deals such as ‘save some soda cans and bring those to the park for reduced admission’, which has worked for us in the past at Busch Gardens.

The beach. We have a beach here, but still many friends go to another beach for fun. If you want to catch some rays (while wearing sunscreen, of course!) on a limited budget:

·         Check out the lesser-known beaches up and down the coasts. For instance, in our area Tybee Island in Georgia and New Smyrna in Florida all offer excellent beach locations, small town atmospheres and, in general, cheaper accommodations than, say, Miami or Daytona. (In fact, New Smyrna is just a few miles away from Daytona!)

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·         Look into renting a cottage or condo rather than a hotel room, which will allow you to cook your meals instead of eating out. (Check local realtor offices, which often list a variety of condo and small home rentals.)  

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The mountains. To save money on MY dream vacation this summer:

·         Check out places in lesser-known mountain areas, such as West Virginia and North Carolina (two of my favorites) on the east coast or Rocky Mountain National Park in the west.

·         Consider pitching a tent instead of renting a hotel room, or check on cabin rates at nearby state or national parks. We did this a few years ago and had a great time cooking out on the grill and catching lightning bugs.

·         Take your bikes along for entertainment, or hike the mountains. Then take a lot of pictures and send them to me so I can live vicariously!

·         Google ‘state parks' and ‘camping' if you want to pitch a tent in a park. Make reservations early, though, as many of these fill up quickly – sometimes a month or more in advance.

·         To save on travel, try priceline.com or expedia.com. To save money on accommodations, google ‘coupon codes’. On food, stay in a place with a kitchen and eat in rather than out.

What about you? What’s your dream summer vacation this year? Will you take one? If not, is money an issue, and if so, where do you plan to go?

What do you think?

15 Tips for Saving Money on Your Summer Vacation

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running. ... More

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2 comments

  1. mommy nhoj says:

    No plans yet for summer but points well- taken! 🙂

  2. Phammom says:

    This will come in real handy this summer!

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