8 Ways to Save Money on Your Summer Holiday

Rest and relaxation aren’t the only things you get from vacation. If you aren’t careful, you could end up with a lot of debt. A recent survey by LearnVest of vacation-going Americans found 74% went into debt to bankroll their getaway, spending $1,108 on average for a single trip. Of those surveyed, most spent about 10% of their annual income on one trip, and most of them did not budget for the trip in advance.

Saving money in jar for travel vacation with passport & camera8 Tips: #1, Determine Your Budget

The good news is that vacations don’t have to be such an enormous expense. There are ways to rein in spending and still have the vacation of your dreams. Check out the following eight ways to do so:

1. Determine Your Budget

Before you can start planning your vacation, you have to come up with a budget. If you don’t want to use debt to fund the holiday, you’ll have to determine how much free money you have. To do that, add up all of your monthly bills and expenses. Whatever amount of money is left over is the amount you can spend on your vacation.

It won’t be an exact number but if you figure out how much you want to spend beforehand, planning it can save time and money. Prior planning also eliminates the need to rack up debt. It's harder to resist that five-star hotel if you’ve spent time researching the property.

Travel credit card with airline tickets, cappuccino & laptop8 Tips: #2, Use the Right Credit Card

2. Use the Right Credit Card

Plenty of credit cards offer free car rental insurance, baggage discounts, complimentary concierge services, and other travel perks. Add cash rewards from a credit card to the mix, and you can save a lot on your next vacation.

If you plan to book your trip with a travel rewards credit card, check out its features and benefits before swiping to maximize your savings.

Golden dollar sign and small starfish on sandy beach8 Tips: #3, Start Saving Now

3. Start Saving Now

Start saving for your vacation as early as possible. Even if you're only able to save $30 from each paycheck, it will add up over the months. When the time comes to venture out — depending on which vacation you choose — it's possible that you will have already saved enough for the majority of your trip.

Some employers offer vacation savings accounts in which a percentage of your paycheck is withdrawn each pay period. You probably won’t even notice it, but it can add up — giving you a nice amount of money to use for your getaway. If you don’t trust yourself to save, open up a stand-alone savings account and have money automatically deposited into it each month.

Woman with laptop on lap searching for airfare bargains8 Tips: #4, Use Timing to Your Advantage 

4. Use Timing to Your Advantage

If you’re flexible with the time of year you travel and the speed at which you can take off, you can save a lot of money.

There are peak and off-peak times of year to travel. During peak seasons, you pay top dollar and usually deal with crowds. On off-peak seasons, hotels and flights are discounted, and the crowds are sparse. If you plan for off-peak dates, the vacation will cost less.

However, if you have your heart set on a beach vacation, you don’t want to visit in hurricane season just to save money. Attractions may be closed during off-peak seasons, so do your research before booking. If the weather isn’t an issue, the savings can be well worth taking an off-peak trip.

Flying on certain days of the week can also impact the price. Airline tickets tend to be cheapest if you fly on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Saturdays. Plus, early morning flights tend to cost less than flights leaving after 9am. Keep in mind that flight prices move with supply and demand. To avoid paying top dollar, sign up for a free price alert app — Skyscanner is one example — to get alerted when prices drop.

Stay vacation written in the ocean's sand
8 Tips: #5, Consider a Staycation

5. Consider a Staycation

Staycations have been popular ever since the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 — when cash-strapped consumers looked for ways to burn off steam. While staycations are not as exciting as vacationing on the coast of Mexico, it can still be a blast.

There are lots of options for types of staycations — from a backyard camping weekend to an overnight stay at a hotel. You can even plan a series of day trips for a few days in a row to feel like you’re on vacation. The savings can be huge, and if you do it right, you should be well rested and refreshed after it's over. Plus, you won’t have any debt to pay down.

Woman in white searching laptop for Hotels8 Tips: #6, Stay Within Walking Distance Instead of Oceanfront

6. Stay Within Walking Distance Instead of Oceanfront

Beaches are a top destination for countless travelers, but the trips can get pricey. To save on a beach vacation, opt for lodging that’s a block or two away from the beach. A short walk to the sand can help you save tremendously.

If staying on the beach is non-negotiable, choose a room without a direct view of the ocean. People want an amazing view and will pay for it. As a result, oceanfront rooms tend to cost more than those with a side view or a view of the parking lot.

Tourist Souvenirs: Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Old Ben, piggy bank & jar, yellow taxi8 Tips: #7, Keep Souvenir Purchases in Check

7. Keep Souvenir Purchases in Check

It's understandable if you want a keepsake from your vacation, but it’s not okay to spend a fortune to stock up on souvenirs. To keep your souvenir shopping in check, schedule window shopping for the beginning of your trip, but save the purchasing for later. Get an idea of what's available, compare prices, and then make your best spending choices closer to the end of your trip. 

Also, keep in mind that most souvenirs end up going unused or getting thrown away. Consider the long-term usefulness before spending unnecessary cash on an item. Often, photos are much more valuable and are a free way to document meaningful moments on your vacation.

Hand hold flag pin over South America destination8 Tips: #8, Choose Lower Cost Destination

8. Choose Lower Cost Destinations

Miami may be on the top of your list of beach vacation destinations, but it could set you back more than you want to spend. However, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach tend to be less expensive. You'll get access to the same beaches will only be minutes from the attractions — all for a fraction of the price. 

When planning your vacation, choose locations that are near the main attraction. Even a couple of miles away is worth it if it means you’ll save serious cash.

Meet Andrew Schrage

Andrew Schrage headshot


Andrew Schrage is the Editor in Chief of Money Crashers which helps people make a variety of consumer decisions, including travel.

The site provides unique and valuable education helping people of all ages make the best spending decisions and use their money towards creating the best trips and experiences possible.





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