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Planning a Summer Vacation? Try These 4 Money-Saving Travel Hacks to Help You Stay on Budget

Summer travel is an exciting time for many people. It’s a time to escape the routine of daily life and explore new places, cultures, and cuisines. The warm weather and longer days provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities, such as hiking, swimming, and sightseeing. 

Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, there’s a sense of adventure and anticipation that comes with planning a summer trip. From the thrill of choosing a destination and booking flights and accommodations, to the excitement of packing and setting off on a new adventure, summer travel is a time of excitement that leaves lasting memories.

Staying on budget can be difficult while traveling, and honestly, not too much fun to think about. But with some careful planning, forethought, and flexibility, you can enjoy a memorable summer vacation while staying on budget. Try these 4 money-saving travel hacks as you plan this summer’s next adventure:

1. Trek Wisely
2. Stay Comfortably
3. Eat Uniquely + Play Differently
4. Swipe Strategically

How to Save Money When Traveling

Due to increased inflation, many travelers are considering closer destinations, less expensive activities, different accommodation options, shorter trips, and taking fewer trips overall. 

By prioritizing what’s important to you and being flexible in areas that aren’t as important to you, you can design a memorable summer vacation without breaking the budget. The first area to consider is how you’re going to get to your dreamy destination!

1. Trek Wisely

The biggest travel expense is often transportation, costing approximately 44% of your entire trip budget! When looking at transportation, consider these money-saving hacks: 

  • Book early: Booking both very early or extremely last minute can bring significant savings. While booking last minute is not always feasible, booking early is typically doable for most people. In addition to saving money, booking early allows you to periodically check prices (or set up flight alerts!) to see if the price has decreased. 
  • Be flexible:
    • Instead of booking your flights after you plan your vacation, consider planning your trip after you’ve scored great plane tickets. By flying at off-peak, or at less popular times, you can save serious cash. Consider flying during the week instead of the weekend, taking an early or late flight, or even a flight with a layover. 
    • “Shoulder season” is the time between peak and offseason and it can be a great time to visit popular destinations. The weather should still be comfortable, while the peak crowds (and prices) have left. 
    • Also, consider utilizing different airports, sometimes just flying in and out of a neighboring airport can save a lot of money. 
  • Pack light: If your airline of choice charges bag fees, consider packing light! This will not only make it easier to maneuver through airports but you’ll also save on fees. Leaving extra space in your suitcases will allow you to purchase a few souvenirs without needing to buy an additional bag. 
  • Rethink your transportation: Do you really need a rental car where you’re going? Or will a couple of ride-shares be effective? Can you share a car with your travel companions? Is your destination public transportation friendly? Consider your transportation needs carefully to ensure you’re utilizing exactly what you need and no more. 

2. Stay Comfortably

Your accommodations are another major expense when it comes to your summer vacation. In addition to traditional hotels, condos, houses, apartments, and more are available via companies such as Airbnb and VRBO

These alternative accommodation options can provide comfort, affordability, and versatility, especially when you’re traveling with a large family or group of friends. Similar to transportation, ensure you’re booking exactly what you need for your trip and no more (or less!). Your family of 5 may technically fit in a one-bedroom hotel room, but will it actually be enjoyable? 

When looking for overnight accommodations, consider these tips: 

  • Book directly: Booking directly, as opposed to using a third-party website, can save you a percentage off your total bill. 
  • Ask for deals: Most companies will offer promotions, multi-night discounts, promo codes, loyalty rewards, etc. which can all put money back in your pocket. 
  • Travel off-season: Traveling during shoulder season or off-season will allow you to avoid tourist inflation in most places. 
  • Split the cost: If you’re traveling with friends, consider splitting the cost of a larger accommodation, provided there’s enough space and privacy. 

3. Eat Uniquely + Play Differently

Indulging in local cuisine is one of the best ways to experience a new culture and try new meals. But eating out every meal, every day can quickly add up. Consider these money-saving travel hacks when it comes to your vacation food: 

  • Eat breakfast at “home”: Breakfast is a simple meal to prepare yourself, especially if you’re staying at a place with a kitchenette or full kitchen. Even making your own coffee can save a couple of dollars and allow for a more relaxed start to the day.  
  • Find a local grocery store: Just because you’re going a more economical route for some meals, doesn’t mean you can’t experience the local flair. Check out a local grocery store that sells fresh, local food you can prepare at your accommodations. You may discover something you’ve never tried before! 
  • Check out the best restaurants at lunchtime: Most restaurants have fantastic lunch specials with the same or very similar food they serve at dinner-time, for much less money. Splurging on your lunch meal instead of dinner can allow you to enjoy the best food while staying on budget. 

Adventurous activities can also quickly add up and break your budget. By choosing a couple of “must-do”s and leaving the rest, you can prioritize what you really want to experience. Stepping outside the main tourist accretion spots can also provide cheaper, more authentic options, often with fewer crowds! 

4. Swipe Strategically

One way to save serious cash and receive great travel perks is by utilizing credit cards. Some cards are specifically designed for travel and can provide discounts or cash-back on flights, hotels, and more. When choosing a credit card, look for one that will provide you with the most benefits while not charging you an annual fee. 

Generous sign-up bonuses are one of the best perks of credit cards and can help you with the cost of your summer vacation. Put your everyday spending on the card for a couple of months, (pay it off in full!), and enjoy the bonus points which can translate into free stays, cash back or discounted flights. 

Other benefits of credit cards can include: 

  • Reimbursement for ATM, foreign transaction fees, Global Entry, and TSA PreCheck 
  • Free rental car insurance 
  • Travel credits
  • Airline companion passes 
  • Trip cancellation insurance

By planning ahead for your summer travel, you can find and apply for the best credit card that suits your travel needs. 

Find More Great Tips and Tricks with Legacy Planning!

Prioritizing travel and new life experiences can go hand in hand with achieving financial aspirations. As a financial planner, I love helping my clients discover just how they can strike this balance. 

There are many demands for your money… investing, saving your child’s college tuition, retirement, housing, and of course, summer vacations. Through thorough financial planning that aligns with your goals and values, I can help you discover where you can let loose a little and enjoy your vacations, without feeling guilty or stifled. Click here to schedule a conversation today!

And don’t miss out on more great tips and tricks – connect with me on LinkedIn

Content in this material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.


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