Budget-Friendly Tips for Your Late-Summer Vacation

Are you hoping a short vaycay – perhaps a road trip upstate – is still in the cards for your family before summer’s end? You’re not alone. Most Americans planned some form of leisure travel this summer, but not everyone has made it happen. Yet.

It’s understandable that between high prices and a desire not to overspend, some families might still be on the fence about whether travel is even feasible this year. Destination Analysts, a market research firm, recently pointed out several reasons that might keep more people closer to home this summer:

  • High prices kept 38 percent of respondents home in April.
  • Close to a quarter of people canceled an upcoming trip.
  • 60 percent said they would drive shorter distances on their road trips this spring and summer.

Here are some ideas to help folks yearning to leave town think further outside the box.

Be Flexible with Travel Plans and Dates

One of the best tips for anyone looking to save a few bucks is to think outside the box. As in, which dates you’re willing to travel and where you’ll go. Better yet, avoid places where everyone else is going. A less popular state park, tourist attraction, nature preserve or campground will still have something special to offer. And you won’t need to compete with everyone else’s family when you get there!

Shave off Small Fees and Expenses

Make a list of everything you will need to make your trip happen. For example:

  • Gas
  • Food
  • Lodging
  • Entrance fees
  • Miscellaneous purchases

Then review each item individually. Are you budgeting for food purchased primarily on the road or at restaurants? Maybe your family could instead visit a local grocer, purchase some fruit and goodies off the shelf, and consume some meals in your room or outside, wherever you will be.

Similarly, there may be ways to shave some of the price off your accommodations and recreational activities. For example, Illinois state parks charge camping and cabin fees that range from $10 to $35. Even low-cost lodging and rentals will sometimes offer a price range, depending on your needs.

Research Your Options, Make Some Calls & Gather More Information

This step will require sitting down and doing a bit of research, but your efforts are likely to pay off. In other words, don’t assume that just because a hotel’s website lists a particular price that the cost is non-negotiable. A friendly call letting an establishment know you’re interested in their business but not sure you can afford it can pay off. The bottom line is not to make assumptions. Be sure to ask about fees and surcharges so you get a realistic price tag for your plans. You don’t always know the true cost of something until you’re explored your options a little closer.

Take Midwestern Tours Closer to Home

This is the route many families on a budget take – and it can be just as scenic, adventuresome and educational as your dream vacation. Adults looking to have a little fun might be surprised at the regional options that have grown in popularity in recent years. Here are just a few:

For that last one, look up low-cost events online, pull up a map and create your own adventure. Did you know Wisconsin’s Ice Age National Scenic Trail, one of the country’s best hiking destinations, consists of a thousand-mile footpath? If you don’t mind sharing your adventure with the birds and other outdoor creatures, your options will widen immensely. Anyone who enjoys hiking, walking, cycling or boating, or simply breathing in fresh air, will find more than enough to choose from in the Midwest.

Stop by Your Local Currency Exchange Before Hitting the Road

Finally, be sure your finances are in order before leaving town. Community Currency Exchanges (CCEAs) have many financial and auto services to help locals stay on top of their finances. There’s no better feeling than knowing you have a solid plan as you hit the road.

Everyone deserves a summer trip, no matter how small. Your nearby CCEA will have loads of information and services to help you cash your checks, pay your bills, and take care of other financial tasks. Stop by your nearest location and take advantage of our many convenient and reliable services!

A person relaxing outside.

With over 350 locations, many open nights, weekends, and holidays (and several stores with 24/7 availability), you can rest easy knowing your financial needs can be taken care of when you need them most. We’re in the heart of every community. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.