Planning a summer vacation might put you into information overload. There are so many places to go and things to do that you just might want to go everywhere. The thought alone is expensive enough.
There are likely a few cheap places close by where you don’t have to spend a lot.
1. Visit national parks
You can find historic national parks and sites no matter where you live. You can make a trip to Yellowstone National Park, the oldest national park in the country, or Rocky Mountain National Park.
The good news is there are historic sites all over the nation, so you can visit without going very far. There are usually low-cost entry fees, with free days sprinkled throughout the year. But many parks are open for free.
2. Go camping
Whether you’re looking to curl up in a sleeping bag or “glamp” your way through nature, you can explore the great outdoors by hitting campsites near you.
Find campgrounds in your area by visiting Recreation.gov. You can see which federal agencies offer camping help or find other ways to explore nature. You might also consider camping at one of the national parks you visit.
If being one with nature doesn’t sit well with you, but you still like the idea of being outside, try glamping, or glamorous camping.
You’ll get running hot water, a decent bed, and an upscale camping experience. You’ll be able to enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors — and still be able to take a real shower.
3. Take a road trip
Driving can save you money on what would otherwise be expensive flights and transportation. If you plan your trip right, a road trip won’t cost you a lot more than gas and places to stay, which can be an Airbnb instead of a hotel.
You can explore your own state or stop at a few others. BuzzFeed has a great list of stops to make all over the country, no matter where you live or where you want to go.
4. Stay with family and friends
Have you ever had relatives or friends tell you to come to visit and stay with them? You can explore a new place or one you haven’t been to in a while by taking them up on their offer to host you. This will put more cash into your pocket since you’ll save money on a place to stay.
But think about ways to give back to your hosts when you’re there. Offer to pay for groceries and cook a meal or take them out to dinner.
5. Visit our neighbors
While staying in the U.S. can be very budget-friendly, you can go out of the country and still stay close. Head north to Canada or south to Mexico.
If you’re going to Canada, air travel might be your biggest expense. TripSavvy recommends flying into a U.S. airport and driving into Canada. This could save you on an expensive flight into the country.
U.S. News & World Report put Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Playa del Carmen in their top-five Mexican cities to visit.
Mexico has a wide range of cheap eats and transportation. For example, you can eat for less than $5 in Playa del Carmen, according to Everything Playa Del Carmen.
6. Try a staycation
Want a quick getaway without actually getting away? Then don’t go too far.
Treat yourself to a staycation by leaving your house but staying close to home. If you’ve never had the chance to explore your own city or get out on a day you’re normally at work or running errands, now is the time.
Take a few days off and chill. Sometimes all you need is a little time to feel recharged and energized.
Vacations don’t have to be pricey
If you’re saving up for an adventure, whether making money with a side hustle or stashing away cash, there are ways to explore without spending a ton of money.
You can travel the world or your own backyard without going bankrupt. If you take the time to explore deals and discounts, you can have a fantastic summer vacation and still keep some money in your pocket.
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