When wanderlust sets in, there’s only one thing that will satisfy the soul: A terrific vacation. But traveling in the summer isn’t cheap, and not everyone has a fully-funded travel account to pay for a getaway.
If you set your sights on traveling this summer, don’t let the prices discourage you. Taking in all the attractions, entertainment, and delicious dining experiences is possible even if money is a little tight.
Here are the best last-minute travel tips to save you money and help you get the most out of your summer vacation.
Last Minute Travel Tips to Help You Save This Summer
1. Be open to where you go.
For any vacation, airfare and hotel costs eat up most of your budget. But saving money is a breeze if you don’t mind where you end up. Look for last-minute travel deals on sites like Expedia and Travelzoo. And don’t forget to check out Groupon Getaways, too.
2. Book a last-minute cruise.
Cruises are fantastic because they include lodging, meals, entertainment, and drinks into a single package. This summer, try booking a discounted last-minute cruise to cut down on the cost. And driving to the cruise port can trim down the total price even more since you won’t pay extra for airfare.
3. Make it a road trip.
Not only will you have massive savings from not buying airfare, but making your summer vacation a road trip can give you a chance to get off the beaten path. What amazing places and fascinating detours will you find on the open road?
4. Consider using a sightseeing pass.
A sightseeing pass gets you a ticket to the best attractions in the area and can save you a bundle while you’re at it. With a card like the New York Pass, your savings could add up to a hundred dollars or more per person. Even better, most cards add bonuses like discounts on shopping and dining or coupons for sites not included in the pass.
5. Plan an epic staycation.
You don’t have to travel far for this travel tip. Staying home might be more relaxing than you think. If you just say no to housework and chores, creating a relaxing vacation at home is achievable. Whether you explore sites in your own town, have a movie night at home, or hike a nearby trail, a staycation can lead to lasting memories.
6. If you’re flying, leave on a Tuesday.
Did you know something as trivial as the day your flight leaves can have a major impact on the cost of your plane ticket? Flying on Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive days to travel according to Airfare Watchdog. But if you pick a flight that leaves on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you could save some serious cash.
7. Set up alerts for cheap airfare.
Speaking of getting the best deal on airfare, sites like Airfare Watchdog, Sky Scanner, and Scott’s Cheap Flights monitor prices to let you know when they’re on their way down. Setting up alerts for cheap airfare is easy peasy and can help you score a great deal before it’s gone.
8. Don’t skip travel insurance.
When planning your summer trip, travel insurance is the last thing on your mind. But if you get sick or sprain your ankle while cruising the Caribbean or walking the streets of Florence, what would you do? Travel insurance can swoop in and take care of you and your family so you’re not stuck with the bill.
9. Split a rental with family or friends.
If you’re traveling with family or friends this summer, everyone can cash in when you bunk together. Instead of a hotel, look for a house or condo on sites like Airbnb or HomeAway with enough room for everyone. Most destinations will have plenty of options to pick from and you’ll be more comfortable than if you were in a cramped hotel room.
10. Stay with someone you know.
Maybe staying with your Uncle Fred in San Francisco isn’t your first pick, but think of all the money you’ll save by not having to pay for a hotel. Plus, you probably don’t see out-of-town family that often and this gives you a chance to catch up.
11. Stay somewhere with a kitchen.
According to Value Penguin, the average American spends $33 a day on food while traveling. At that rate, the cost of food for a family of 4 adds up to almost $1,000 a week! If you stay somewhere with a kitchen and eat home-cooked meals for breakfast and lunch, the potential savings are huge. And going out for dinner still lets you enjoy local cuisine without breaking the bank.
12. Give camping a shot.
Campgrounds are often cheaper than hotels and immersing yourself in the great outdoors will give you plenty of fresh air to unwind. Even if a tent is your only option, pack an air mattress, Kindle, and your orange and papaya organic soap to make the stay more comfortable. And keeping up with your social life won’t be a problem since most campgrounds have Wi-Fi.
13. Skip the pricey souvenirs.
Buying Mickey Mouse ears, a replica of the Eiffel Tower, or other themed souvenirs is part of the fun when you’re on vacation. Although shopping for trinkets sounds like a good idea, they’re often left to collect dust once you return home. Skip the buyer’s remorse by steering clear of the souvenir shops. Instead, collect shells, rocks, ticket stubs, and postcards as your souvenirs for a fraction of the cost.
14. Cut back by making it a mini-vacation.
If a big vacation isn’t in the budget this year, find something that fits in your price range by turning your summer travel into a mini-vacation. Rather than spending two weeks bouncing around Europe, consider a four-day weekend in a location near you. This way, you’ll get away and create travel memories while sticking to your budget.
15. Plan a few splurges.
Even though you’re looking for ways to save while traveling this summer, sometimes you need to splurge a little. Whether your indulgences include a non-stop flight, lunch at the perfect French cafe, or a private tour of medieval castles in Ireland, chances are you’ll find a way to treat yourself without sacrificing your finances.
Where will you go this summer?
Taking advantage of these money-saving strategies and travel tips can help stretch your vacation dollars no matter where you go this summer. But remember, summer doesn’t last forever. The best destinations fill up fast, so don’t wait too long to put your travel plans into motion.
Have you tried any of these travel tips before? What are some of your favorite travel tips & hacks? Share them in the comments below!