It's Summer, Let's Make a Deal!
There’s no shame in being budget-conscious. These days everyone understands that it’s a smart idea to scale back a little bit, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo vacationing altogether; just keep a few things in mind and you’ll be well on your way to achieving a frugal summer travel triumph.
Often the bulk of your travel allowance goes towards accommodations, so if you’re smart about this basic consideration then you’ll have a little wiggle room in other areas of your itinerary. Vacation rentals tend to be a better deal than hotels (especially when you have a large group), so entertain the option of renting a condo, cottage or cabin in the destination of your choice.
Picture the perks that will come with having a house at your disposal rather than just a room – especially on the beach or by the lake. Multi-family trips and lazy summer weekends can be both relaxing and reasonably-priced, so why follow convention and book something standard when you could have so much more?
Once you’ve touched down, let the relaxing begin but stay alert and prevent those little things from busting your budget. Taxi rides and tanks of gas are a few that add up quickly, so familiarize yourself with public transportation, bike routes or simply lace up your walking shoes and get moving. Adding a little exercise to the mix will make this a more fulfilling trip (and balance out a few of those calorie-fests), and exploring by foot is the best way to get to know a new place.
Portland is a fun city and oh-so-walkable. Zoos, gardens and a “Fareless Square” (there’s no charge for bus, rail or streetcar riding in the downtown region) encourage thrifty adventures and environmentally-friendly traveling, too.
Splurging on a fabulous meal in a famous restaurant can be the highlight of a trip for true foodies, but there’s no need to go overboard for every meal. Cheap eats that reveal the personality of a region as well as stocking the kitchen with breakfast basics and snacks will certainly cut costs. Following the locals to their favorite dives is always a key to dining success (everyday eating tends to be bargain-oriented), and choosing lodgings that have a kitchen will come in handy time and again.
Visiting a city during Restaurant Week (now hosted by Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, Toronto, Sacramento, Puerto Vallarta and a few others) means enjoying a top-notch meal at a discount price, and resources like Yelp will help you find the food you want at the prices you’d care to pay.
Just about every spot you’d want to visit has deals and freebies, you just have to know where to look. Local newspapers are an excellent resource for finding out about farmers’ markets and the like, and asking someone who’s surely in the know (the coffee shop barista, your vacation rental owner) will surely turn up a few tidbits that travel guides might not include. Sometimes all it takes is keeping your eyes open…
Las Vegas gives away much of its flash for free. The shows and the slots will beckon, but don’t overlook the eye-popping possibilities that will come from strolling the strip without dropping a dime (sinking pirate ships, glitzy lights and people-watching opportunities galore will all dazzle ya).
A Few More Tips:
- If you’ll be flying, waiting until late summer pays off. Lower fares can be found in late August and early September, so wait until then if you can. (Also take note that Sundays are the most expensive day to fly while Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be the cheapest).
- If you’re the souvenir-buying type, skip the shopping kiosks along the beach and visit the grocery store, instead. Regional foods and locally-inspired knickknacks will surely be cheaper here.
- Did you know that many companies rent cars by the hour? You won’t need a vehicle every day during a vacation centered on hiking, fishing and swimming, so see if you can’t save a few bucks in this department.