Cost Saving Tips for your Summer Vacation

couple vacationing overseas, enjoying the view with feet propped up

Break out the tent and fire up the camping grill! Check out these cost-saving tips for your summer vacation.

With establishments and businesses opening back up, people are anxious to travel and visit places again. This means things like hotels, rental cars, and plane tickets are likely to rise in cost in the coming months. To prepare, consider these cost saving tips for your summer vacation.

  1. Set a budget and stick to it!

  2. Setting a budget for a vacation can end up helping you save a good amount. It’s common to start considering flight costs, hotel rates, and gas expenses in your budget. Along with activities, snacks, and souvenirs.

    Organize your vacation spending before you leave, and monitor what you spend while you are there. A way to easily track your spending is with a budgeting app. You should also consider compensating in other categories if you find that you are going overboard in one. This can help you stick to your budget.

    Making a budget for vacation is a great way to save and can help keep you from spending more than you planned. By using different tools and methods, budgeting makes it easier to keep track of your vacation essentials. While also saving for your next getaway.

  3. Planning ahead for all expenses

  4. Consider costs for car rentals, hotels, vacation rentals, gas, and activity fees.

      • Car Rentals

    Summer is the peak time for vacations, and car rentals go up in price around that time as well. One way to save is to book your car early. Rental expenses are cheaper before the vacation spike starts, and booking months in advance can save you money. Booking your rental car before your vacation can also give peace of mind knowing you’ll likely have a vehicle to use while on your trip.

    Another way to save on rental cars is to avoid booking at airports. It can cost you anywhere from 10 to 25 percent more to rent a car at the airport. Consider finding a rental car depot near the city where it’s cheaper and fees are lower. Consider alternates to renting a car, such as Uber or Lyft. These rideshare services match drivers of private vehicles to those seeking rides, similar to a taxi. If you’re needing a quick ride to your hotel or nearby, these alternates can be less expensive than typical car rentals.

      • Hotels

    Like rental cars, hotel prices spike during the summer. Planning ahead for a hotel is important considering many fill up quick in the summer. Booking early can save you money and provide you a better chance of a place to stay.

    Booking directly with the hotel can also be a great way to save when looking for a hotel. Today, most hotels guarantee you’ll find the lowest possible rate by booking directly through their website. Contact the hotel and ask if it will honor the lower price if you see it elsewhere. Some hotels will even give you a free night or gift cards for future stays.

      • Vacation Rentals

    Other than hotels, summer is a peak time for vacation rentals. In fact, vacation rentals are outperforming some hotels in certain areas. But like hotels, booking early is important. Rentals at the lowest prices tend to be booked first. Rentals are typically booked 90 days prior to stays, but the sooner you book, the better prices will be.

      • Gas

    Gas prices usually tick up when summer starts. However, some gas stations may be cheaper than others. Compare gas prices when you stop for fuel. Typically, stations along the interstate are more expensive, so comparing stations can save you more. There are free apps for your smartphone which show you the lowest fuel prices in your location.

    Consider paying for fuel with a credit card that receives rewards. Some credit cards offer cash or points incentives and some offer higher percentages or points for fuel purchases. However, consider staying away from credit cards that charge fees or have high interest rates.

      • Activity Fees

    Activities are good to factor into your budget so know exactly how much you are spending. Plan ahead for the activities you’ll do while on vacation. There are many less expensive activities to make the most of your trip. Such as visiting a local beach, camping, or visiting a national park. Activities can make a trip memorable, and by sticking to your budget, you won’t have to worry about outstanding bills after your trip.

    Also, research if there are travel packages available at nearby warehouse or wholesale stores. Sometimes club stores offer deals on vacation packages, so it might be worth your time to see if there is a bargain trip!

  5. Be flexible on dates, destinations

  6. Consider finding the most cost-effective way to reach your destination if you’re not in a hurry to arrive. Driving can sometimes be cheaper than flying, but if you need to fly, check out weekday flights. Weekday flights are known to be cheaper and are an option to consider when wanting to save.

    You can also consider other options as well when it comes to lodging. Staying with a friend may be more cost-effective than booking a hotel. Camping is also an option if you enjoy the outdoors. You can even be flexible about the location of your vacation if you’re not sure where you want to go. Instead of going to the beach, go to a lake. The beach and a hotel are sometimes more expensive than a nice cabin by a lake. Another way to save money on your trip, is by staying local. Think about “touring” your own city, maybe catching a show or checking out a new restaurant.

  7. Use credit card rewards

  8. Credit cards with travel rewards often offer the best savings on vacation. Travel rewards can get you discounts on checked luggage, free flights, and hotel stays. There are other types of rewards which can also be helpful.

    You can use cash back credit cards to buy gift cards for places you plan to visit while on vacation. However, you don’t necessarily have to spend cash back on your vacation. Instead, consider using rewards to purchase groceries so you can save your regular income for vacation.

    It’s a good idea to know what kind of rewards your credit card provider issues. Your card issuer should have information on how to use your points, and when they expire.

  9. Be on the lookout for coupons and free activities

  10. Look into what discounts are available for any activities you plan on doing during your vacation. When you sign up for a mailing list or become a new customer, some places offer you a discount. Online coupons may also be available. Be sure to check the expiration date before using any coupons!

    Before you leave for your trip, see if there are any fun activities in the area you’re visiting. It’s possible there are activities happening of which you are unaware. These could be events and activities you’re interested in and at an affordable price.

  11. Consider eating out only once a day and making meals for the rest

  12. Eating out is a part of going on a vacation, but doing that for every meal can add up quickly. Shop at the grocery store and buy food for the week to save money and stay within your budget. Doing so, you can make breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals to have throughout the day.

    Planning a vacation can be expensive, but with a little preparation you can make the most of your trip and not overspend.

Sources:

Planning a Summer Vacation? These Tips Can Help You Save, The Ascent

5 Financial Planning Tips for Your Summer 2021 Family Road Trip, Parents

10 ways to save money on your next rental car, NBC News

12 Hotel Hacks That Will Save You Money, Smarter Travel

How to Save Money on Vacation Rental Properties, Kiplinger

How to save money on gas during a road trip!, Central Insurance