Six ideas for taking an affordable summer vacation

Ways to save on summer vacations.

Summer time in Michigan is vacation time for many families. Unfortunately, family vacations can take a bit hit on the family budget. Below are some ideas for taking an affordable summer vacation.

Vacation at home – When was the last time you checked out attractions located in your own area? Take advantage of what’s available locally. Hiking trails, swimming beaches, Little League baseball games, city parks, local museums, etc. can be more affordable or could even be free. Grilling in the back yard is much less expensive than taking the family to restaurants for every meal. Plus it might even taste better!

Visit free attractions – check with visitors bureaus, travel books (check out the public library), maps and other resources to find things to do with little or no cost such as swimming, hiking, free music, children’s events, farmers markets, etc.

Camp and cook your own meals – if you have camping equipment, you can probably save money by camping and preparing and cooking your own meals. Check out free camping or low cost camping sites such as state and federal recreation areas.

Stay in locations with cooking facilities – motel facilities with a kitchenette may be worth the extra expense if you can prepare your own meals instead of eating at restaurants.

Plan, plan, plan – a little planning goes a long way toward saving money. Planning ahead and purchasing snacks and breakfast items can save money on food purchases made in convenience stores and tourist locations. Keep kids entertained while travelling by packing books, crayons or colored pencils, and paper or coloring books. Look for activities to do in the car online. An inexpensive notebook makes a great journal for kids to keep while on vacation.

Decide on a budget ahead of time for souvenirs, entertainment and other purchases – It’s a lot easier to make decisions about what entertainment/attractions are affordable if you calculate how much money you want to spend before leaving home.

Michigan State University Extension has money management worksheets and many more resources to help you to save money whether you are at home or on vacation!