On a Tight Budget? Learn How to Save Money on Summer Travel

Summer vacation travel is at the forefront of many of our minds, offering an exciting escape from the daily work or ministry routine. But, if you are a clergyperson, retired, or a lay member living on a tight budget, how can you venture into the vacation season with financial confidence to ensure a worry-free and enjoyable summer vacation?

family walking beach

According to a 2023 study conducted by The Vacationer, 85% of Americans plan to travel over the summer. However, a recent survey conducted by Forbes states that nearly half (46%) of adults reported that they are saving and investing less than usual.

If the latter statistic is speaking to you, don't feel guilty. We get it. Times are hard and the prices of even basic necessities have been increasing more and more each day. But there are steps you can take to enjoy a worry-free, guilt-free vacation or staycation, which you deserve. Here’s how:

  1. Create a budget. Avoid the Overspending Trap. Before your trip, decide what you are willing to spend money on, and what you don’t need to spend money on. This might involve allocating specific amounts for accommodation, dining, activities, and souvenirs. By setting clear spending limits and priorities, you can avoid overspending and ensure that your money is going to what you value most. Additionally, consider using budgeting apps or spreadsheets to track your expenses in real time.
  2. Find out if your credit card offers any deals. Your credit card may have certain deals with hotels or resorts. While these offers may be small, they can be effective in providing you with discounts, giveaways, or perks. Some credit cards offer rewards programs where you can accumulate points or miles for every purchase, which can be redeemed for travel-related expenses like flights, accommodation, or rental cars.
  3. Give yourself permission to splurge one day. While it’s important to stick to your budget during most of your trip, allocating one day for indulgence can enhance your overall experience without breaking the bank. Maybe this “splurge day” is your last day of your vacation! Whether it’s treating yourself to a fancy dinner or booking a luxurious day at the spa, allowing yourself this “splurge day” can add a memorable highlight to your journey while saving you money.
  4. Cut back on other expenses. Plan ahead. Before your summer vacation, try to limit the money you spend on at-home expenses. Consider reducing spending on non-essential items like dining out, entertainment, subscriptions, or impulse purchases. By tightening your budget in the weeks leading up to your trip, you can free up more funds to allocate towards your travel expenses or your splurge day. Additionally, exploring cost-saving measures like carpooling or meal prepping can add to your savings.
  5. Consider alternative travel. Instead of going to popular tourist destinations, consider off-the-beaten-track locations that offer unique (and cheaper) experiences. Opting for less-traveled locations can often mean lower accommodation prices, cheaper dining options, and reduced transportation costs compared to popular tourist hubs. These destinations likely offer free or low-cost attractions, allowing you to stretch your travel budget while still enjoying memorable experiences. Instead of going to a tourist-ridden city, consider hidden gems in the countryside!

Planning ahead and practicing these money-saving vacation tips will give you peace of mind as you prepare for your summer vacation.

Get more tips on summer travel by reading the Health AdvocateSM blog here.