Just because a big vacation is not in your budget, doesn't mean you have to stay housebound. There are many affordable vacation ideas out there, for those interested in a little local entertainment. These four ideas can help you find a cheap vacation to accommodate your finances. (Whether you're placing trades with your broker or standing in line at the grocery store - the world of finance is never far from your thoughts. Learn to stay close to the markets all year round, in Top 9 Vacation Destinations For Wall Street Geeks.)
In Pictures: Vacation Savings Tips
- The Beach in Your Backyard
Instead of hopping on a plane to an island destination, try driving to a beach near you. The East Coast is lined with beaches and boardwalks from Martha's Vineyard and Virginia Beach to Hilton Head, SC and Miami. West coast beaches include Huntington Beach and several near San Diego. There are also plenty of beaches to choose from along the Gulf Coast as well as in Canada.
- Your Coastal Complement on this Continent
Why fly overseas to another country when you can take advantage of the North American continent? Write down the attractions you are traveling to see and find a complimentary venue in your region. Living on the East Coast and thinking about a trip to Las Vegas? Save some money and drive to Atlantic City. Other destinations with casinos include Niagara Falls, Kansas City and New Orleans. If you are looking to visit a big city, swap New York City for Los Angeles. For mountains, consider swapping between the Rockies and the Appalachians. You can experience similar scenery without spending as many greenbacks. (A short vacation can give you a boost in energy and allow you to recharge your batteries for work. Find out more, in Rejuvenate Your Life And Career With A Sabbatical.)
- Trade a Cruise for the Ferry
Instead of taking a cruise and making several quick stops, visit two destinations for as long as you like and ride the waves while avoiding the drama of getting seasick. Ferries offer a relatively cheap way to transport you, your family, your luggage and your car from one venue to the next.
Some popular ferries include the Cape May-Lewes Ferry (New Jersey to Delaware), the Rocky-Hill Glastonbury Ferry (Connecticut) and the Columbia River Ferry (Oregon to Washington). Some popular pedestrian only ferries include the Toronto Island Ferry and New Orleans Steamboat Cruise.
- Try a Regular Park for your Amusement
Admission to popular amusement parks can top $50 per person. Try visiting a state or national park for a fraction of the price. Some popular national parks include Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Arizona/Nevada), the Everglades (Florida) and the Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina/Virginia), which makes for a nice scenic route to several local attractions. Check the calendars for your city, state or regional parks office to find out what tours and activities are available this summer. Also check to see if advance registration is required to reserve your spots.
Tips for a Cheaper Trip
Peak air travel surcharges were added to dates around holidays, however many airlines have attached these surcharges to the majority of dates during the summer season. Many of the major airlines have attached the highest charge of $30 one-way, to Sundays in July and August.
Choose your Travel Dates Wisely
According to farecompare.com, flights departing early in the morning on Tuesday and Wednesday typically offer the cheapest fares. If you are looking to save money, then Sunday flights should be avoided.
Pack Light – Avoid Fees from Airlines
Transporting "extra" baggage has become a luxury add-on for airline travelers. Fees for extra bags can reach as high as $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second checked bag. Overweight bag fees can range from $39-200 depending on the airline, so be sure to check the weight limits before you pack. It may be more cost effective to pack two smaller bags as opposed to one large one.
The Bottom Line
Summer is the season for vacations. A tight budget should not prevent you from enjoying your time off. Instead of staying home, explore cheaper alternatives that can provide you with equally good times for substantially lower costs.
Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: The Unrelenting Claw Of Bernie Madoff.
InvestingIf you are a foodie then explore one of these destinations in 2016.
Personal FinanceEven if you’re a finance or statistics expert, you’re not immune to common decision-making mistakes that can negatively impact your finances.
SavingsLearn 10 key habits for achieving financial freedom, including smart budgeting, staying abreast of new tax deductions and the importance of proper maintenance.
SavingsAirline fees can vary tremendously. We've compared them side-by-side – along with Amtrak's new charges – to determine who charges the most (and least).
BudgetingThe 2016 race to the White House will largely be determined by who can spend the most money. Here is a look at how much it will cost to win the presidency.
BudgetingDoes your budget not allow you to have expensive hobbies? Here are six great ideas for occupying your free time without spending money.
Home & AutoWith a few simple policy additions you can protect your holiday plans from being ruined.
Home & AutoConsider what your life might be like in the Philippines on a $1,000 budget, and determine whether this Southeast Asian country is for you.
Stock AnalysisPriceline has delivered a cumulative return north of 220% over the past five years, but the next five years is likely to paint a different picture.
Home & AutoDiscover what kind of life you can lead on $1,000 per month in Thailand, one of the top expatriate and tourist destinations in Southeast Asia.
Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
A wide range of possible deductibles are available with health insurance plans, starting as low as a few hundred dollars ... Read Full Answer >>
While there is no hard rule for how much of a person's income should be discretionary, Inc. magazine points out that it would ... Read Full Answer >>
Generally speaking, aim to keep between two months and six months worth of your fixed expenses in your demand deposit accounts. ... Read Full Answer >>
The rule of 72 is best used to estimate compounding periods that are factors of two (2, 4, 12, 200 and so on). This is because ... Read Full Answer >>
A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>