[:en]Summer and vacation go hand in hand, since warm, sunny weather is abundant and the kids are out of school. When you’re on a budget and trying to pay off debt or build up your savings, going on a summer vacation can seem daunting, however. The good news is that with some planning and common sense, it is definitely possible to take a fun summer vacation while sticking to a budget. Here are six ways to have a fun summer vacation on a budget:
Look for Bundled Deals on Coupon Sites
Coupon sites like Groupon and LivingSocial often have travel deals that include airfare and hotel all for one low price. You may come across a deal on a fun travel destination you hadn’t even considered. Plus, once you plan your trip you can use these same sites to snag deals on local meals and excursions to save even more money on your vacation.
Check Travel Deal Sites Often
If you have your heart set on a specific destination, it pays to consistently check sites like Orbitz and Hotwire for deals on flights and hotels. New deals are added all the time, so be sure to check frequently until you find something that matches your budget.
Look for Mid-week Flights
It may not be super convenient when it comes to minimizing time off from work, but if you can swing it it’s a great idea to look for flights leaving on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Way more people travel on weekends (or on Fridays and Mondays as part of a long weekend), so airlines frequently have to slash prices on mid-week flights to fill seats.
Stay Close to Home
Just because an international vacation isn’t in your budget this year doesn’t mean you can’t have a great vacation. Look for campsites, beaches, charming bed and breakfasts, scenic national forests or interesting cities that you can drive to. You may opt to visit a favorite destination, or use this summer vacation as a chance to explore somewhere new that is still close to home.
Steer Clear of Holiday Weekends
Hotels and airlines know a lot of people travel over holiday weekends, so they can get away with charging way more at those times. By traveling during less popular times you will benefit from better deals as well as less crowded destinations.
Stay at a Vacation Rental
Instead of staying in a hotel, consider renting an apartment or home through a site like Airbnb. You can often get more space for your money this way (great if traveling with a family or other large group) and many vacation rentals come with free perks like airport pickups and bike rentals. Plus, if you have a full kitchen you can grab some groceries and make many of your meals at “home” which cuts way down on meal expenses.
Whatever your summer travel plans, if you plan ahead and look for deals you will be able to have a great time on a budget.[:]