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How to Save Money During Vacation

Summer is the time of year when families and individuals alike are looking to get away and enjoy some time in the sun. Whether it’s lying on the beach or building sandcastles, everyone wants to make the most of their summer vacation. However, summer vacations can also be expensive, which can make it difficult for families who are working on debt management. If you’re looking for ways to save money during vacation, these tips can help.

Save money during vacation with ACCC's tips.

Save money during vacation with ACCC’s tips.

Savings Tips at the Planning Stage:

Plan Early

One of the best ways to avoid overspending on your summer vacation is to plan early. Waiting until the last minute to plan your vacation can lead to avoidable credit card debt. Additionally, you may end up paying more for your vacation home or hotel if you wait until the last minute to make your bookings.

Look for free activities

Many cities offer free activities, such as walking tours, museums, and festivals. Look for free activities in your destination and plan your itinerary accordingly.

Shop for Vacation Packages

You can usually save money by bundling your vacation with one company. Several websites offer complete trip packages, such as CheapCaribbean, TravelZoo, CheapTickets, Priceline, and more. The airlines themselves may also offer flight and hotel packages. Joining an airline’s email list can keep you updated on their deals. Booking a vacation home with good ratings can help you manage the cost of lodging without adding any more consumer debt.

Use travel rewards

If you have credit card rewards or airline miles, consider using them to offset the cost of your vacation. This can help you save money on flights, hotels, and other travel expenses.

Save Money with Connecting Flights

If you need to fly to your destination, consider connecting flights to save money. Although it may take a little longer to get there, the transit time can be converted into a little expedition itself.

Travel Light

Many airlines charge for checked luggage, but some allow one checked bag per person as well as a carry-on. Traveling light can help you avoid checking extra bags and incurring more charges.

Plan Meals Ahead

Research restaurants in the area ahead of time to avoid scrambling for a place to eat. Eating at local restaurants can be a great way to save money on vacation. You can find reviews, menus, and pricing information online. If you’re in the United States, look for deals on sites like Groupon and Living Social. You can search by location and find deals to save up to 50% off your meal. Avoid touristy areas where prices are often inflated. This can help you avoid too much credit card debt post-vacation.

Savings Tips During the Trip

Buy Groceries

Skip the restaurants and buy groceries on your vacation. If your accommodation options have a kitchen, you can start your day with a homemade breakfast, bring your own snacks as you head out for activities, and even pack a lunch. Don’t forget that you can also bring your own food from home on the plane, just no beverages.

Eat Light Dinners

Dinner is typically the most expensive meal at any given restaurant. Avoid this hefty expense by making your other meals heartier. Having a big lunch will cost less than the average dinner entree. Eat more during the day and have a light dinner to save some money on your trip.

Use Public Transportation

If it’s an option, use the area’s public transportation to save money. Buses and trains will cost less than cabs or rental cars. Look up the transportation options in the area and see where you can save. A daily bus pass will probably cost less than one ride in a cab.

Buy souvenirs strategically

Souvenirs can be expensive, so be strategic when buying them. Look for unique, locally made items instead of mass-produced trinkets. You can also save money by buying souvenirs at the end of your trip when they may be discounted. Keep in mind that taking photos are like free souvenirs too!

Final Thoughts

Summer vacations don’t have to be expensive. Planning early, bundling your vacation, and using public transportation can all help you save money. Buying groceries and planning meals ahead of time can also help you avoid overspending on dining out. And, of course, don’t forget to enjoy your vacation and make memories with your loved ones. By following these tips, you can save money and have a fun-filled summer vacation.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 



Rae Yen is a marketing coordinator at ACCC. She wants to help others optimize their financial resources and plan accordingly.

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