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11 Tips to Stretch Your Vacation Budget

The summer season is upon us – do you have big vacation plans? There’s no need to break the bank — here are some tips to get the most out of your summer while staying on budget!


  1. Set a Budget

Determine how much you can afford to spend on your vacation, and stick to it! This will help you make informed decisions and prioritize your spending while you’re having fun. Beyond food, transportation and lodging, don’t forget to include a little fun money for things like souvenirs, photos, or special experiences if that is something that will be important to your family.


  1. Discounts Count

If you’ve joined AAA, AARP, Student Advantage, or another membership program, be sure to check for discounts on lodging, meals, and attractions. Your credit union may also offers discounts on restaurants and attractions right in your hometown for a budget-friendly staycation – check out our Love My Credit Union rewards to see what’s available to you!


  1. Pack Smart & Travel Light

If you’re planning to fly, pack light so you can carry on your bags. Average checked bag fees run around $30 for the first bag and $45 for the second, per person, depending on the airline, so carrying on will save you some significant cash. Don’t forget to pack essentials such as sunscreen, toiletries, and snacks to avoid purchasing them at inflated prices at the airport or a hotel. Most airlines also charge for premium seats, so it pays not to be too choosy about where you sit.


  1. Rent, Don’t Buy

You’ve booked that coveted camping spot, but you’re a first-time camper. To save money, consider borrowing or renting equipment such as tents, stoves, and cookware instead of buying. You’ll save money and still have everything you need for the perfect trip. Plus, you won’t have to store everything once you get home!


  1. Find Free Fun

Every city has free activities and events scheduled through the summer, from farmers’ markets, splash pads, and factory tours to music concerts, antique car shows, and art fairs. Find out what’s going on in your hometown or explore someplace new without emptying your wallet.


  1. Use Public Transportation

With larger cities’ public transportation systems, there’s no need to pay staggering rental car rates — AND you’ll save on parking fees. Hopping on the subway or light rail makes getting around easy and inexpensive, and stations are almost always located near popular attractions, such as museums and ballparks.


  1. Be Flexible

If you can move your vacation dates, you might be able to score a better deal on airline tickets, hotel rooms, and more. Midweek rates tend to be a little cheaper, so look around and see if leaving a day earlier or later is worth the savings.


  1. Smart Meal Planning

There are plenty of ways to save on meals while traveling. Plan to stay in a hotel that offers complimentary breakfast. Rent a place with a kitchenette or kitchen so you can buy groceries and cook your own meals. Eat your biggest meal at lunch as menu prices tend to be more expensive during dinner. Carry snacks with you while traveling rather than buying them at the airport or convenience stores.


  1. Listen to the Locals

When looking for a place to grab a bite or, that top-rated restaurant you found online may look tasty, but it could be an overpriced tourist trap. The same goes for attractions and activities while on vacation. Find out where the locals like to hang out — you’ll likely save money, avoid the crowds, and still get a great experience.


  1. Book Early and Bundle

As soon as you see a travel deal you like, book it. Good deals go quickly, and the best ones often combine flights, hotels, and rental cars into one package.


  1. Consider Alternative Accommodations

Look beyond traditional hotels and explore alternative options like camping, vacation rentals, hostels, or home-sharing platforms. These options can often be more affordable, especially for families or larger groups.


Ready to plan your summer vacation? Cutting Edge offers affordable financing to make 2023 a summer to remember. Contact us today to learn more!

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