Plan a Summer Vacation Without Breaking the Bank

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Jun 01, 2017

When setting your family budget, often the first thing that gets slashed is the summer vacation. However, if you do a little research and planning, you can find simple ways to save and keep your vacation on the calendar. Here are a few ideas.

Flexible location to save money. Sometimes you just want to get away to recharge and the location is not the biggest factor. If your heart is not set on a specific city, find a location that offers substantial savings over popular tourist destinations.

Avoid airport parking. Have a friend or family member drop you off for your flight. If you know people who live near the airport, ask if you can park your car at their home during your vacation. Some hotels that are near airports offer "park and fly" packages that may save you some money.

Get creative about flying. Many destinations have several airport options that are relatively close together. Find out if you can save by flying into the less popular airport. The day and time you fly can also save you money. Consider flying midweek. Fridays and Sundays remain the most popular days to fly, but choosing to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday might give you a price break. Even adjusting the time of day of your flight can save you money. See if you find savings by choosing a flight time between 5 and 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m. It used to be that a round-trip ticket always produced the best deal, but this is not necessarily the case anymore. Experiment with one-way ticket options to see if you can find a better deal.

Stay with relatives. You do not have to spend your entire vacation with relatives, but enjoying their hospitality for a night or two can do wonders for your vacation budget. They will likely appreciate that you included a visit to their home in your vacation plans.

Eat for less. Most airlines now charge for in-flight food options. Stock your carry-on bag with solid snacks to avoid high-priced snacks on the plane. When researching your destination, look for hotels that offer free breakfast. Buying groceries on vacation is another great way to save on meals. Consider a light dinner a few times a week to give you additional savings. When you do dine out, consider smaller neighborhood restaurants rather than those in high-priced touristy areas.

These options may offer a bit of savings here and there, but added up, you could save hundreds by planning ahead and being flexible about your summer vacation experience.