Summer is nearly upon us, and you know what that means? It’s vacation time! Particularly for people with children who have the summer off, summer provides the best opportunity to get away.
Unfortunately, the more-popular destinations are almost guaranteed to come with high price tags on accommodations, not to mention large crowds, in the summer.
The good news is that you can still take a decent summer vacation without breaking the bank — if you take in these tips.
1. Plan ahead
Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com
If you haven’t already done so, lock in those reservations to secure the lowest rates. That will also make it easier to cover associated costs without having to cough up a huge wad of cash at the last minute or, even worse, resort to the magic plastic.
Can’t plan ahead? Look for last-minute getaways on:
- Travel websites like Priceline.com and Orbitz.
- The websites of major hotel chains, such as Hyatt and Choice Hotels.
- Websites that specialize in providing access to trips booked late in the game, such as Last Minute Travel.
Consider looking at the best deals out there before deciding on your destination.
2. Use rewards
pathdoc / Shutterstock.com
Now’s the time to redeem all of the rewards you have accumulated on your credit card or customer loyalty accounts for air travel and lodging.
I’ve done this for several years with Marriott points and saved a ton of money. In some instances, I’ve been able to earn extra nights simply for staying during select promotional periods. One summer my family and I vacationed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for five days without paying a dime for lodging.
3. Avoid the crowds
Lab Photo / Shutterstock.com
It seems like the larger the crowd, the higher the price tag. At least that’s the case in Florida, where I live. However, many snowbirds migrate back to their homes in the summer months — the off-season — and prices return to normal.
Also, ask your travel agent about less-crowded alternatives for the type of vacation you desire, and you’ll likely find a lower price.
4. Eat for cheap
mr.water / Shutterstock.com
Search for lodging with in-room kitchens, such as Residence Inn. Also, many hotels, as well as B&Bs, include the first meal of the day in their rates.
When you do decide to step out to grab a bite to eat, avoid the tip and extra add-ons, such as beverages and desserts, by ordering the food to go. Or make a picnic.
Also, check with the reservation desk in the hotel lobby and look online for coupons.
5. Vacation with friends and family
Amy Walters / Shutterstock.com
Why not skip the overcrowded, compact hotels and rent an entire house with a group of friends or family members? Not only is it an opportunity to spend time with those who are near and dear to you, but you will also save a ton of money with the in-home amenities while entertaining one another for free.
We do this once a year, and the highlights of the trip typically include the evening cookouts, pool parties and competitions in the game room. What’s even better is that we usually save hundreds of dollars.
To learn more, see “7 Tips to Save Hundreds on Vacation Home Rentals.”