9 Ways to Have an Epic Summer Vacation Without Going Broke

Enjoying your summer holiday without spending too much money can be hard. And it’s easy to see why. After working hard all year, you probably feel the need to let off some steam while on vacation. Worrying about money is probably the last thing on your mind.

Until you get home, that is…

Many people overspend while on vacation. Especially if you use a credit card to help pay for your adventures. All those cocktails, meals out, and gift shop souvenirs can really take their toll on your finances.

If you’re not careful, you could end up paying for your summer vacation right up until Christmas. Nobody wants that! So here are a few ways to keep your spending in line without sacrificing your vacation enjoyment.

1. Book in Advance

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You probably already know that booking your flights and accommodations in advance is one of the best ways to keep your holiday affordable. But the same can be said for any day trips, special events, and tourist attractions you plan to visit.

Once you’ve decided on your destination, do some research on what’s in the area and figure out what else you’d like to do. Booking these ahead of time often gets you a discount, too.

Many tourist destinations have discounted ticket packages available for the top attractions. Just make sure the package includes things you’re actually interested in; otherwise, you may be wasting your money.

You can also find promo codes online or sign up for the company’s newsletter to help cut down on costs. (And then unsubscribe so you’re not tempted to spend more.)

2. Use Reward Cards

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Use reward credit cards or cash-back sites when making purchases related to your trip. These small savings can add up over time and contribute to a more affordable holiday experience.

Or, if you have travel points or frequent flyer miles, use them!

3. Mix Up Expensive with Not-So-Expensive Days

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When you go somewhere new, getting out and seeing everything you can is tempting, regardless of the price. However, certain attractions and events come with a higher price tag. Most vacation destinations also have free or low-cost options, which is why you should consider throwing in a few non-expensive days amongst your plans, too.

When I went to New York City, we splurged on Broadway tickets but then spent some time exploring Brooklyn, Central Park, and the Pier for free.

Perhaps you can spend a day relaxing by the hotel pool before going into the city the next day. Or you can explore a museum or art gallery during the day before enjoying a 10-course meal at a Michelin-Star Restaurant.

You’ll still have a great trip but can spread the money-spending out more evenly.

4. Set a Spending Budget

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On that same note, consider setting a spending budget for your holiday. This could be broken down by day (such as budgeting $100 per day to spend) or could be by category (such as budgeting $50 for souvenirs).

Setting a realistic budget allows you to enjoy yourself without being concerned about your spending.

5. Think About Repayments Before You Go

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It’s smart to think about how you will pay for your holiday and spending ahead of time. This will also help you determine your spending budget.

Ideally, you will have this amount saved up already and can pay for your trip immediately. But if not, and you use a credit card, for example, come up with a repayment plan before you leave so that you can pay it off as quickly as possible. That way, when you return from your holiday, you don’t have to stress over how you will now pay for it all.

6. Be Flexible with Your Flights

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Consider flying during cheaper times of the day, like early morning or late night. Flying during less popular times can save you money and time, as there are fewer crowds and shorter lines.

7. Bring Your Own Food

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Taking your own food with you is good for your wallet and waistline. You don’t have to rely on expensive restaurants or salty snacks from the hotel vending machine. Preparing sandwiches and wraps or snacks like fruit and granola bars keeps hunger at bay during sightseeing or traveling.

If you are flying, be sure to check what you can bring in your carry-on and plan accordingly. But if it’s a road trip, fill up that cooler!

8. Walk More

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Walking eliminates the need for expensive transportation options such as taxis, rideshares, or parking fees (which are always high in tourist areas). Exploring your destination on foot also immerses you in the local culture, where you can try their cuisine, chat with the residents, and support their small businesses.

Public transportation is also an option in many places.

9. Don’t Go So Far

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Traveling somewhere closer to home is a great way to save money. Sure, it would be great to go to the Swiss Alps with its gorgeous ski hills, but the Rocky Mountains in Colorado are just as good and are a lot cheaper. Plus, shorter travel times mean you have more time to enjoy your vacation.

If you don’t mind driving, road trips also cost less than flights. 

Have a Great Vacation You Can Afford

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Going on vacation is supposed to be a relaxing, stress-free escape. The last thing you want to do is create more stress in your life trying to pay for it. These tips can help you actually enjoy your summer holiday without spending too much and getting yourself into debt. Enjoy!

Job Skills You Can Learn from Traveling

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Not that you need another excuse to travel, since it allows us to make memories, gain experiences, and recharge, but it can also benefit your career.

It’s true! Traveling can teach you many great skills applicable to everyday life, including in-demand job skills. So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready to learn these 15 essential job skills that will take your professional life to the next level.

Read: 15 Job Skills You Can Learn from Traveling

Moving Abroad for Work?

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Choosing to move internationally is a big decision to make. From lifestyle changes to financial challenges, critical factors can either make or break your international career. So before jumping on the next plane, discover what it takes to make your work abroad dream a reality!

Read: Moving Abroad for Work? 7 Factors to Consider Before Accepting That Job Offer

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

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