Six Tips for Planning the Perfect Summer Vacation

Posted On: July 3, 2023
girl in front holding a net with family behind her
Budget-Friendly Escapes: Savvy Secrets to Planning a Summer Vacation

If you haven't already, it’s finally time to dig in and start planning a summer vacation. A little “R & R” goes a long way when you’ve been working hard during the year. The time has come to pause, smell the flowers, hit the beach, and make a plan for adventure.

So, what’s holding you back? Low budget? Short on savings? Concerns about costs? 

We get it, but that time away to relax is essential to help you refresh, revitalize, and return to work – whether remotely, in-office, or on the road – ready to tackle your next career milestone.

So, grab your sunglasses, pack your bags, and buckle up! We’ve put together some budget-friendly adventure tips and tricks to captivate your imagination and keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.


Choosing the Perfect Destination

Does destination matter? It might! Popular destinations are often pricey due to their widespread acclaim and yearly influx of visitors. However, plenty of destinations off the beaten path cost less and boast natural beauty, cultural richness, intriguing histories, and fun adventure. Whether you are planning a solo vacation or embarking on a group expedition, these hidden gems promise a delightful blend of amusement and affordability.

We’ve come up with a few location ideas to get you started:

These are just some of the many budget-friendly adventures available across the country. And while cost varies, there’s something to do at each location that accommodates every budget. So, embrace the road less traveled when planning your next relaxing and memorable summer vacation.


Planning and Booking Strategies

Timing is everything when preparing to take a summer vacation. Avoid peak travel days such as the beginning of July and any major holiday. These periods witness the highest demand, resulting in larger crowds and more expensive tickets and accommodations.

One way to stick to your vacation budget, is by traveling midweek and during the shoulder season – between peak season and winter.

Additionally, you can save even more money by booking your trip well in advance. However, if that’s impossible, then watch for last-minute deals. Consider bundling your flight and accommodation. In some cases, you might be able to bundle your activities as well.

Finally, take advantage of complimentary breakfasts and free or low-cost guided tours.


Creative Cost-Cutting Ideas

No rule states you must stay in a hotel. Hotels can be pricey, depending on your destination and travel dates. Here are a few cost-cutting accommodation alternatives to consider:

  • RV rentals
  • Bed and breakfast
  • Hostel
  • Guest House
  • Tent


Start saving now!

At Extraco, we want you to have extra dough. With the new Savvy Savings program, every debit purchase you make automatically rounds up to the nearest dollar and puts the difference in your savings account. It's an easy way to grow your savings that almost makes too much sense.

Extraco. Extra Dough.


Free and Low-Cost Activities

Travel and accommodation costs typically constitute a significant portion of your vacation budget. But where does that leave you in regards to activities once you get there? While many activities will undoubtedly have a price tag, others do not.

For example, check out local parks, beaches, and hiking trails. Many of these are free. Pack a lunch, make it a picnic, and you’ll even save on food as well. Additionally, don't miss the opportunity to delve into the historical and cultural gems of the area, as they offer visitors the chance to glimpse into captivating heritage.

A few other economic ideas include:

  • City walking tours
  • Local parks and botanical gardens
  • Free admission museums
  • Public art and street performances
  • Park performances or movie hours
  • Self-guided historical tours
  • Cultural festivals and events


Savoring Local Cuisine on a Budget

Many destinations offer a unique perspective on cuisine, one of the joys of traveling. Don’t be afraid to indulge, but to maximize your savings, consider varying your sources between restaurants, farmer's markets, festivals, and food stalls. Balancing these options allows you to sample authentic local fare without breaking the bank.


Packing Tips and Tricks

Packing light is vital. While you must take the essentials, some items will only weigh you down unnecessarily. The following tips will make packing your luggage a breeze, and help keep your bags light.

  • Pick lightweight, versatile clothing
  • Choose outfits you can easily mix and match for different looks
  • Pack mini toiletries instead of full-size
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them
  • Limit shoes to two pairs
  • Avoid “just in case” items
  • Use packing cubes to keep things organized while maximizing packing space


The Final Word

Planning a summer vacation on a budget is easy and can reward you with a richer travel experience and more money left in your wallet. By embracing offbeat destinations and finding all the little ways to save, you’ll nurture your wanderlust, while sticking to a budget!