NEWS

Shoestring Living: Summer travel on the cheap

Molly Logan Anderson

This time of year, we all hope to steal away. Warm weather inspires our sense of adventure as much as it enables our ability to relax. Like most things in life, the problem lies within the budget, as travel is costly no matter what season we’re in. Everyone’s feeling it – domestic travel spending dropped from $662.4 billion in 2008 to $610.2 billon in 2009, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

While I might not be able to get you to Aruba on a dime, here are some things to consider when planning for some R and R this summer. 

Scale back

Like most aspects of frugal living, traveling on a budget requires serious expectation management.  Leave more elaborate trips, like swimming with the dolphins, for another year. Choose destinations within driving distance. Consider a long weekend instead of a week. These adjustments equal big savings on accommodations, food and entertainment.

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If being on the water is your thing, consider renting a beach house or lake property with family or friends to cut the bill down. Most folks are in a similar boat this year; wanting to get away, but struggling to find a way to make it happen. Make sure your chosen accommodations are big enough for everyone though; it’s nothing less than a drag to be cramped with your own family, much less another one!

Visit family or friends

This is an even better option, as there are no hotel bills to contend with, but you’ll still experience a new place and change in scenery. Work out a meal schedule so that everyone takes turns cooking. Even better, bring the party to you by inviting friends or family for a long weekend. The flip flop in your routine will break up the dog days of summer.

Cash in

Lastly, don’t forget memberships to rewards programs. You’ve earned points all year long and while they may not buy you an entire trip, they can definitely help keep costs down. Search online rewards catalogs to determine just how much help they can provide.

Molly Logan Anderson is a freelance writer who lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Mike, three kids and black lab. Join Molly on her family’s journey of living a frugal life and making financial freedom their reality.