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Summer Travel Tips for the Budget-Conscious

It’s summertime, and you know what that means – vacation time! But traveling during the peak summer months can get expensive. If you’re living on a budget, spending extra cash for vacation isn’t always possible. We know you don’t want to stay home all summer long, so we’ve pulled together some of the best summer travel tips we could find to help you stick to your budget this season while you get a bit of wanderlust out of your system.

Travel saving tips


  • Join hotel loyalty programs wherever you go. Many individual hotels, as well as hotel lines offer discounts where you receive a free night once you’ve stayed a certain number of nights. They’re generally free to join, so you won’t lose anything by signing up.
  • Consider becoming a tourist in your own backyard. You don’t have to go far to enjoy the sites. Plan some fun and unique staycation activities near home.
  • Don’t rush through packing. Take your time, make lists of everything you need, and double check to be sure you have everything. If you’re going to a touristy area and forget something important, it’ll cost a lot more to buy it there. Make sure you take everything you need to avoid unnecessary expenses while you’re away.
  • Pack snacks so you’re not spending a bunch of money every time someone gets hungry. This one is easier to do if you’re driving to your destination rather than flying, but it can save you some serious cash. Bring along snacks that are easy to eat on the go, like healthy granola bars and 100-calorie packs. You could also bring sliced fruit, which has the added benefit of keeping you hydrated in the summer heat. While you’re at it, bring everyone a water bottle to help avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid traveling on peak weekends like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. These are some of the busiest weekends for air travel over the summer, and you may get stuck in traffic if you travel by car. If possible, have a flexible schedule to travel a few days earlier or a few days later than everyone else to skip the crowds and the higher airline prices.
  • Check out saving sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for great deals on hotels in virtually any destination. Many of them come with packages such as free breakfast, a free spa day, or dinner credits. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a destination you’ve never been to before.
  •  Book a hotel room with a kitchen or kitchenette. That way you can bring your own food to cook instead of eating out for every meal (again, this is a lot easier if you’re driving).
  • Check out lower cost options for lodging -- campgrounds, state and national parks..get creative to save money on hotel costs.
  • Travel light when flying to cut extra baggage costs.
  • Scour the internet for deals. Whether you stay local or travel to a far away destination, there are deals to be had on activites, restaurants and more if you take the time to seek them out. Spend a bit of time doing research and you’ll surely save some bucks.
  • Visit family or friends. You can save money and still get time away by planning your travel to destinations where you have family and/or friends you can visit. Be sure to be a good guest and offer to share extra expenses!
  • Share expenses with a multi-family trip. It can be cheaper to rent one large house or condo and share expense. Plus, you can combine grocery budgets and save as well!

Where are you going this summer? What are your best travel tips? We’d love to hear how you save -- share in the comments or on our Twitter or  CESI Facebook page with the hashtag #CESISummerTravel


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