Five fine ideas for affordable summer getaways

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vacation1Summer’s here, the kids are out of school, time to take that much anticipated vacation. But is it affordable? Can it be made affordable? Here are five ways to enjoy your summer journey without needing the rest of the year to pay it off:

1. Make it a joint vacation, teaming up with family and friends. Together with carefully-chosen friends and relatives rent that spacious house at the beach or the lake or the river. This may give you and your kids some folks with which to enjoy the vacation. The average cost for each family is reduced than if you went on the same vacation separately. Here’s one site for more information. Here’s another one.

2. Road trip! And a road trip that’s within one day’s drive of home. If you’ve got a car that gets reasonable gas mileage (whatever that means these days!), and don’t need to spend money on a place to stay on the way to your vacation spot, driving is the economical way to go. Choose a place to vacation that is only 2-4 hours away.

3. Take your trip to a less well-known location. Avoid places known for tourism. There will be less crowds, and less costs if you visit the lovely state capitol of Sacramento, for example, instead of San Francisco. Other suggestions: Quebec City, Jacksonville, Boise, Des Moines, Salem, Ore., and Pensacola, Fla.

4. Don’t vacation during the peak of the season. If vacationing with children who attending a conventionally-scheduled school (as opposed to year-round schedules which allow extended trips several times a year), this tip is problematical. However, if your kids are of preschool age, traveling off-season can provide cheaper fees and expenses. vacation3Vacationing to the south of the U.S. provides an off-peak time that corresponds to summer in the United States and Canada. Hotels and resorts in both the Caribbean and Mexico are less expensive from April/May into the fall. There are even situations where children are not charged for rooms or beds during the time of year.

5. Take along your own supplies. It can go either way. You might bring your own food, bottles of water, beer and wine, bikes and scooters, anything you might need to rent that will fit in your traveling vehicle. This will decrease your costs on any road trip. However if the vacation involves an airline flight, carry along as little as possible. If you can fit everything you absolutely need in carry-on luggage, that’s the way to save, now that they are charging for even the first checked bag.

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