As the temperatures warm up and the kids get out of school, you find yourself dreaming of a summer getaway with your family. Whether you want to visit the beach to feel the sand under your feet or go to a popular mountain town for some fresh air, there are ways to save money. Even on a tight budget, you can get away this summer for family fun. Here are some tips for making that summer vacation more affordable.
Book an Apartment or Home
Booking an apartment or home is a cinch. Many of the available rentals cost less or around the same as a hotel room or two, and your family has room to spread out. Websites, such as Airbnb and VRBO, offer home, cottage, cabin and apartment rentals direct from the owner. With Airbnb, you can even rent a single room within someone's home.
In addition to saving money on lodging, a vacation rental can help you save money on food. A full kitchen makes it easy to feed your family without the need to eat out at expensive restaurants three times a day. Even if you don't want to cook every meal, you can bring in cereal, sandwich meats and cheeses, and snacks for your family to save a little money.
Tip: If you don't mind staying a couple of blocks from the beach or main attractions, you discover better deals on vacation rentals.
Bring Staples From Home
Grocery stores, drugstores and big box stores charge a premium when it's located in a summer vacation community. Before leaving home, you can pack up staple items that you may need while vacationing. These things include:
- snack food
- beach towels
- beach toys
- canned goods
- and much more
It's easy to think that you can pick up these items when you arrive at your destination. If you're driving, it's a good idea to bring these items with you, so you don't end up paying more than you would have paid at home.
Choose a Destination Within Driving Distance
One of the largest expenses of any vacation is getting to your destination. Airfare can run several hundred dollars per ticket needed, and airlines understand that many families travel during the summer months and raise the prices to make more profit. Before selecting a final vacation spot, pull out a map and see where you can go by car.
You can make getting to your vacation destination part of the fun. If you're traveling with young kids, pack snacks, games, and toys to entertain them on the journey. When you're looking at the map, see if there are any interesting places to stop along the way to ensure everyone has fun.
Tip: Make sure to stop once an hour to let everyone stretch their legs and burn off some energy. If possible, choose a rest area instead of a convenience store, so you aren't tempted to buy snacks and drinks that you don't need.
Share the Costs
If you have close friends with children around the same age as your own, you might consider inviting them along on your summer vacation. You may need a larger vacation rental, but you'll save money overall. The other family can also help share the costs of food and travel, especially if you can fit everyone into one vehicle, such as a van. When you're visiting attractions, it's a good idea to ask if they offer a group discount.
With a little planning, your family can enjoy a summer vacation on a tight budget. Driving to your destination and renting a vacation property saves you money and makes your trip more affordable.