Plan a Budget-Friendly Getaway

As summer internships and jobs wrap up and summer comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to make a quick getaway before school starts. Don’t worry–you don’t need a lot of money to get away and enjoy a little piece of summer if you follow this guide!

Set a Budget!

The first thing you need to do is look at your funds and see how much money you have to spend; a.k.a. “create a budget.”

Choose a Destination!

Once that is in order, you can decide where your destination will be. If you have enough available funds, you might choose to go somewhere further away from home, but if money is an issue, weekend or day trips may be your savoir.

  • Got Dough?-Places like Florida, or the Carolinas might tickle your fancy, and probably will be able to accommodate you on short notice, whereas places like the Bahamas may be booked.
  • Low on Dough?-Places like Washington, DC, Gettysburg, PA, NYC, or the Jersey beaches make perfect day trips. There is a lot to do in these areas, but not too much that you would be overwhelmed or run out of time to do the things you want. You can visit trazzler.com to find more local getaways near you.

Decide Whether to Fly or Drive!

If you are choosing a local day trip, of course you would drive. But if you are choosing a destination that can be reached by both car and plane, choosing the right option can make the trip cost less. To make it easy, befrugal.com has come up with a “fly or drive” calculator; you can view it here. But be careful: one thing the site doesn’t factor in is food and overnight stays. While driving might be cheaper, once you add in meals for everyone during the drive or an overnight stay at a hotel, driving could actually be more costly than you’d imagined.

  • If you chose to fly…–Check websites like Expedia and Travelocity for deals on flights. You can get flights cheaper at these sites than through the airports. You may also want to look into the package deals they offer, where the flight and hotel are combined at one price.
  • If you chose to drive…–When driving, remember to plan ahead. That means: pack snacks to save money on food for the drive; don’t wait until last minute to get gas—look for cheaper stations by checking Gasbuddy.com, which tells you the cheapest gas locations near you, from your smartphone.

Choose somewhere to stay!

Before you call up a hotel and book your room, check out other options. On Craigslist, you can find people who are renting out their condos and homes for a week to a month and may be a cost-savvy option. You can also use Cheaprooms.com to find cheaper hotel rates.

Eat well, but cheap, on vacation!

The best way to save money on vacation is to grocery shop and cook at your house/hotel. If cooking while on vacation is too much work for you, at least buy breakfast and lunch items, such as cereal and sandwich items, which are quick and easy to make.

If you want to do dinner out, plan ahead. Use restaurant.com to research restaurants close to where you are staying. You can get $25 restaurant gift cards for just $2 at restaurant.com, making a $50 dinner bill just $27!

Have fun with coupons!

Doing activities that are free is always a good route to go, such as hitting the beach, visiting a park, or sightseeing. However, if you need a bigger adrenaline rush and want to be more extreme, find coupons and deals on sites like Groupon.com. There, you can find discount prices for anything from white water rafting to skydiving.

Now that you know how it’s done, it’s time to put your plan in action and have a nice getaway without breaking the bank—or your budget!

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