Planning a summer vacation sounds like an expensive proposition, but it doesn’t have to be costly to be quality. You just need to know some tricks of the trade.
Destination: Inexpensive Location
A travel blog by Southern Californian Kristin Addis offers money-saving hints in a wide variety of categories, from trips for solo females to resources such as itineraries to budgeting.
She travels solo all across the globe and delves into the world of locals to tap into each culture. Whether it’s a short jaunt or a long-term vacay, she and her team at Be My Travel Muse have information to share.
If you want to go outside the U.S., an article on the website offers you some ideas if you’re planning a cheap vacation.
You can see Laos for $30 a day, according to Be My Travel Muse, though places to stay are actually a bit more expensive than other Southeast Asian destinations. What makes it a cheap vacation is that the activities are so reasonably priced.
The article describes one waterfall in Laos as the most beautiful in the world and it costs the traveler just $2.50. The writer went inner tubing on the Vang Vieng River one day for $7 and got a “tiger balm massage” for $6.
To get around Laos you can rent a motorbike inexpensively, for about $6-$15 for the day, but the best part of the deal is that it takes you to outlying towns where prices are even better. Nice rooms are about $35, it says, and meals total $3-$9 per day.
Vietnam is also about $30 a day – another cheap vacation venue – if you follow these tips.
Food in Vietnam is estimated at about $5-$10 a day. The street food was both the cheapest and healthiest, according to the travel writer. She ate soup with noodles, broth, pork and cilantro for $1.50. You can rent a motorbike there as well, but traffic is pretty bad, so the best summer vacation trip ideas include trains and buses.
Though it’s not typically at the top of the list of “where to go on summer vacation,” Romania is within your reach for just $33 a day. The towns are charming and a lot of activities are free, the article says – and better yet – a lot of tourists don’t know about them.
Stroll from village to village with history from medieval times or enjoy one of the country’s picturesque parks.
For accommodations, hostels are perhaps the cheapest route at $10-$15 per night. One way to save money on food is to eat breakfast at hostels and eat your biggest meal at lunch. If your hostel has a kitchen, you can cook your own dinner using produce and other fresh food from the market.
If it’s always been your dream to travel to Greece, you probably didn’t know it was a cheap vacation at $40 per day. The price to get there dropped after the debt crisis of 2010, which helps, but avoid summer months for the best prices on travel.
For food, like anywhere else, it pays to make your own if you can. Some of the least expensive summer vacation trip ideas include taking a picnic down to the beach to enjoy the coastline of Greece.
Free walking tours are available and if you island hop, check prices and limit number of transfers.
You can find accommodations for as low as $10-$15 per night and if you split the cost of a rental car, you can get the price below the daily cost of a scooter rental, which is about $25-$30.
Where to Go on Summer Vacation if you Backpack
If you’re planning a summer vacation and want moneysaving advice, a website called The Broke Backpacker has some suggestions if you’re willing to travel that way. Some parts of the world are as inexpensive as $10 a day, notably India and Eastern Europe.
The Broke Backpacker’s “Ultimate List of Cheap Countries to Visit” includes:
- Iran, which is often overlooked. It’s the easiest to hitch a ride, he says, and citizens will invite you to their homes, so sometimes you pay nothing for accommodations.
- Venezuela is also on the short list if you’re planning a cheap vacation. He says he buys 60 beers for a dollar and five-star hotels cost just $2 per night. Taxis cost approximately a quarter and multiple-day mountain trips are under $100.
- Pakistan has picturesque mountains and extreme hospitality from locals, so The Broke Backpacker says its virtues are underestimated when planning a summer vacation that knocks it out of the park. He couch-surfed through the country and said your travel costs can add up unless you catch rides with friendly natives. Food in Pakistan is just a few dollars per meal and camping in the Karakoram Mountains is free.
- India is one of the better-known cheap vacation travel destinations and years ago he backpacked through the country for a year for less than $3,000. He estimates a cost of $10 a day for the frugal traveler. To save money in India you need to be willing to use slow means of travel, however. For instance, taking the train over a 12-hour period is $16.50 for a sleeper.
Planning a Summer Vacation with Safety in Mind
Planning a cheap vacation makes little sense if you’re going to be dodging thieves or constantly watchful for violent behavior. Countries have rankings when it comes to safety stats too, and it’s a good idea to check those before making decisions.
A website called SkyScanner.com posted a list of countries with the highest safety statistics for travelers. It stems from the U.S. Department of State, which combines a number of factors to assign each country a ranking.
Some of the countries with the highest travel advisories are:
Zambia: Victoria Falls is one of its most desirable tourist sites. Nature also surprises visitors with the proliferation of lions, zebras and the second-largest wildebeest migration in Africa. It doesn’t speak to its rank when planning a cheap vacation, but it’s very compelling.
Slovenia: It’s 7th on the Global Peace Index and it’s a country awarded with the “Green Capital of Europe,” which is Ljubljana. There is hiking in the Julian Alps, as well as biking and rowing on Lake Bled island.
New Zealand: It’s the second safest country in the world behind Iceland. This group of Pacific Islands boast a series of subtropical, volcanic and glacial landscapes, which is why so many tourists make it their choice with planning a summer vacation.
Cheap Vacation Flights
Shopping for plane flights can take a lot of time and finesse, especially when you want to know where to go on summer vacation that’s cheap to get to.
You can typically find sites that compare several different travel sources, sometimes lining up a package that includes hotels and flights together for added savings. Some of the best known are Expedia, Kayak, JustFly and CheapFlights.
You can also subscribe to the airlines directly, which is sometimes an advantage. You usually input your email address to get deals and announcements about seasonal offers.
- Tips for savings on flights include:
Fly on weekdays, as flights are typically cheaper Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You’ll pay more if you fly on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.
- Check for the cost of luggage vs. carry-on bags. If it costs money to check a bag, see if you can pack tightly enough to just bring a carry-on sized bag. Anything that trims your costs will make it easier to plan a cheap vacation.
- Plan a cheap summer vacation all year round by using a credit card with travel miles. Numerous banks and credit card companies have airline points, which greatly reduce flight expenses.
Summer Vacation Trip Ideas for Accommodations
Where you stay makes a big difference when it comes to your budget. There are, of course, sites such as Priceline.com where you name your cost and that’s a beneficial and widely-used option.
HotelTonight.com is an app that gives you access to deals. You fill in your destination and dates and a “digital concierge” lays out options. They have heavily discounted room rates – especially if you have flexibility with your travel dates. Hotels have quotas, so the website can also offer you help with last-minute bookings.
If you thought Groupon was only for massages and piano lessons, you could be missing out on cheap vacation ideas. It’s a global entity, so there are Groupon deals everywhere.
Another great source of information is to simply ask locals. Even before you reach your destination you can pinpoint not-to-miss sites, activities and restaurants. If you’re using Air B&B, you can message your host, of course. And call places of interest directly – museums, theme parks, etc. – for hours and dates they are open.
One of the best summer vacation trip ideas is to purchase transportation passes or tickets in advance. Often there are bus or train ticket discounts, depending on your destination and when you board so you can make it a cheap summer vacation rather than the other way around.
Planning a Summer Vacation with a Vacation Voucher
A discount program such as a car donation vacation voucher can cut your expenses by offering you deep sale prices on vacation destinations. You simply choose from the vacation hotels listed and it often requires a small deposit.
Cars2Charities has a vacation voucher program, which means when you donate a car to charity you can benefit from the offers. So, the added bonus is that the value of a car you no longer need is converted to support for a cause you care about. You also get the tax deduction, which saves you money as well!
Planning a cheap vacation is something you can consider all year round, whether you’re upgrading your car or applying for a new credit card. If you’re getting deals sent to your email you’ll be apprised of where to go on summer vacation or when to plan a trip to take advantage of the best discounts.
It may take some effort but most people, when planning a summer vacation, want to spend as little of their hard-earned money as possible.