With Memorial Day, most of our thoughts start to lean towards the summer mindset. Things like ice cream cones, lemonade stands and large inflatable rafts come to mind – and so do vacations. Vacations can go a number of different places (see what we did there?). If you’re currently in a strong financial place right now, your vacation plans may lead you to a dream destination. If your finances presently are a bit tight, perhaps a staycation is a better idea. If you find yourself in the middle, here are some compromises and creative vacationing ideas that land somewhere in between.
Summer provides one of the best opportunities in the calendar year to experience the great outdoors, so why not make that the vacation? Go camping and fall asleep beneath the stars. You can search for a nearby campground and head to a retail store centered on outdoor living such as REI for all your needs. To save even more, consider asking your friends who camp more frequently to borrow their equipment.
One of the best parts about camping is you can determine your level of comfort. Camping doesn’t necessarily mean you’re restricted to hot dogs cooked on a stick over an open fire and trees serving as the only bathroom facilities. You can select a campground based on your preferences and focused on your interests. Need a mix of “glamour” and “camping?” There’s no harm in “glamping.” Consider a campground that offers an airstream, a yurt, a teepee, or even a tree house. Want to do more than stare into a campfire? Find a campground that provides activities such as hiking, fishing, biking, swimming pools, rock wall climbing, golfing, putt-putt, basketball courts or even outdoor movie nights. Whatever you decide, don’t forget the s’mores!
Find The Deal.
It only takes a few pecks at a keyboard or swipes on a smart phone to find good travel deals. Options abound, starting with stores that are based on club memberships, like Costco. Vetting out options on the Costco platform has shown to provide savings compared to going directly to the various vendors (hotel, theme park, rental car, etc.) separately.
While living in this age of technology is not always perfect, it does provide us all quicker access to find deals on travel. Sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, and Groupon can share ways to save on travel methods, lodging, activities, and dining that can really add up. As we’ve shared before, looking into alternatives to a hotel on sites such as AirBnB and VRBO also can provide ways to cut costs on your accommodations on the trip; to continue the camping idea, these sites also options for recreational vehicles (RVs) and airstreams.
Some people love the spontaneity of life. Planning can take the joy out of the adventure. For those, platforms that provide great rushed deals can offer awesome options. Looking for a last-minute hotel room? Try Hotel Tonight which allows you to search for immediate deals on hotel rooms around the world. Feeling the call of the high seas? Cruise Sheet provides search features for cruise options that can sail you to ports across the globe. While booking a cruise in advance can offer savings, this site can provide discounts for those planning a cruise in the spur of the moment.
Even if you don’t find better options, you’ll sleep better on the trip knowing you did your due diligence in hunting for the best pricing.
Go Less Popular
Yes, certain places come to mind when you say “beach.” Places like San Diego, Maui, and Miami can be at the top of the list. But, remember, there are wonderful locations that offer terrific beaches that tend to be associated with lower overall costs, both associated to traveling, lodging and dining. The sand may feel slightly different and the water may be an alternate shade of blue, but once you’re relaxed on the towel and soaking in the vitamin D (with proper SPF protection, of course), you’ll barely notice the difference. You will notice the difference in your bank account though!
Seek Nearby Worlds
Chances are you’ve passed through a nearby town (or even neighborhood, in larger cities) and thought, “Oh, that place looks cool. We should go there.” Well, there’s no time like the present, so go there! Pick a destination that is only a day’s drive away and make that your vacation spot. It’s not a staycation because you’re leaving your town (or neighborhood) and experiencing some place new; the travel just doesn’t involve a large investment of time or money. With new restaurants, shops, bars, and entertainment venues, you can discover a whole new world right next door. To perhaps make it feel even more foreign, see if there’s another method of transportation to get there. When I was growing up, my family traveled from South Texas to Dallas by car all the time – except the one time we took a train. To this day, it’s one of the most memorable trips I ever had with my family.
The vacation of a lifetime doesn’t have to cost a lot. Just a little creative thinking can result in a trip that ends up being one of your family’s favorite, life-long memories.