7 Routes to a Cheaper Family Vacation

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

Considering a Fixer-Upper? 15 Ways to Avoid a Money PitGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

20 Tips for Buying a Home in the Best Location, Location, LocationGrow

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

Marijuana Stocks Flaming Out Under TrumpFamily

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

A vacation doesn't have to be expensive. Try renting a place with a kitchen and tweeting your way to discounts, for a start.

With school ending for the year, families are thinking about how to plan a frugal vacation. We all know such tips as “check with AAA for discounts.” Here are seven more money-saving ideas for planning a vacation on a budget:

  1. Fly into and out of second-tier cities. If you’re flying, you can usually find cheaper fares outside the big cities. One family found round-trip tickets to Florida for $45 per person, just by choosing to use the airport farther from the nearest big city. I know that if I need to fly to Maine, I always choose to fly into Manchester, New Hampshire, rather than Portland, Maine. Sure, I have to drive a bit farther but I always save hundreds of dollars on my airfare.
  2. Use social media to your discounting advantage. Many hotels, resorts and chambers of commerce are using social media to attract customers – and rewarding Twitter and Facebook users with deep discounts. Just today a company told me that if I entered the code TWEET when I booked my stay, I’d save 15%!
  3. Think local. This isn’t just about staycations. This is about day trips to nearby places that other people plan entire vacations around. Draw a circle on a map within a 100-mile radius of your home and see what kinds of attractions fall within that circle. Your local convention and visitors’ bureau might be able to set you up with discounts to places you drive by daily and never thought of making part of your vacation plans.
  4. Take a volunteer vacation. According to Sheryl Kayne, author of Volunteer Vacations Across America, there are a handful of farms and good causes that will provide free room and board to you and your youngest volunteers in return for your sweat and elbow grease. For example, Kane says The Big Dipper Eco Farm in Michigan accepts families with children of all ages, including infants and toddlers, and will find age-appropriate organic gardening tasks for all the mobile members of your family. (Editor’s Note: For more information, check out this news story we did about Volunteer Vacations.)
  5. See if your memberships get you free or discounted admission to places where you’re traveling. If you’re a member of your local zoo or museum, find out if those institutions have reciprocal agreements with other zoos and museums. For example, National Aviary members receive discounted or free admission at a long list of zoos, with which it has reciprocal discounts or free admission. You might just find yourself with free entertainment during your time away.
  6. When you travel, stock your own minibar. Don’t be tempted to pay $5 for a candy bar in that hotel mini-fridge. Instead, visit your favorite warehouse club to stock up on goodies that your kids can treat themselves to during your trip and that won’t bust your budget.
  7. Rent a house, apartment or hotel room with a full or partial kitchen. This will help you avoid paying $6 for bagels in the hotel restaurant at breakfast. You can go through organizations that specialize in vacation home rentals or timeshare rentals, or even check places like Craigslist or the back of your college alumni magazine for ads for vacation rentals. (Editor’s Note: Also consider house-swapping. Here’s a recent story that explains how it works.)

What about you? What are your favorite money-saving tips for vacations?

Leah Ingram is the author of “Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier & Healthier for Less” and shares money-saving tips at Suddenly Frugal.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 7 Things Worth Paying More For

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,008 more deals!