6 Ways to Not Ruin Your Summer Vacation Budget

Enjoy your vacation without breaking the bank!

With school out, many families will travel out of town to take a vacation. Whether you might be traveling to visit family or to get away from the family, it costs money to travel. It can also become real easy to ruin your summer vacation budget by spending too much. Here are 6 ways to have fun on your summer vacation without breaking the bank.

1. Make a Budget

Hopefully, you already have a summer vacation budget with a price ceiling of how much you can afford. This figure should include your lodging, food, travel, gas, and sightseeing expenses. For example, if you say you can only spend $2,000 this summer, you need to find accommodations and travel methods affordable enough so you don’t spend your entire budget before you ever leave your driveway.

As you make travel reservations, subtract the expenses from your total spending limit. If you need to spend more in lodging or airfare, consult with your spouse and see where you can skimp to stay travel within your summer vacation budget limit. You might even have to consider driving instead of flying or visiting a new, cheaper location.

Using a budgeting app can help you create a vacation budget and track your spending in real time.

2. Cook Meals

One way to save money is to reserve a rental house or extended stay hotel with a kitchen in it. This allows you to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home which can save you anywhere from $5 per person for breakfast, $10 at lunch, or up to $20 per plate for dinner. Visit a grocery store to buy fresh ingredients or packaged meals and desserts for a fraction of the cost.

You can still have fun by going out at least once or twice to a restaurant. After all, it’s still a vacation. But, the money saved in dining can be used to offset entertainment costs, having a better flight schedule, or reserving a larger rental house.

3. Set Daily Spending Limits

It can be just as easy to overspend your budget once you arrive at your vacation destination as well. Especially if you don’t have some sort of weekly itinerary already drafted.

Set a daily spending limit for sightseeing. Not every fun activity costs money, so you can fill the time by doing free activities like visiting the beach or going to a park that might offer a similar experience to the paid attractions.

Every vacation destination has a small booklet that lists all the different excursions, museums, theme parks, and points of interest that are available. Some are free and others charge admission. In short, there’s always more to do and see than you have time for in only one week of vacation.

 4. Look For Travel Packages

Another way to possibly save money is to look for package deals. If you plan on visiting several museums in one city, buying a package can gain you discounted access to all these museums. You are going to spend money to visit them all anyway, paying it all upfront with a single lump sum can save you money.

You can also look for travel packages for your hotel, airfare, and rental car. These aren’t always the best deals sometimes it can be cheaper to purchase each reservation separately. And, there might be restrictions like you the package is only valid on particular days or for only a portion of your traveling party.

5. Use a Rewards Credit Card

When used properly, rewards credit cards can help you save money on vacation. You might be able to redeem airline or hotel loyalty points to pay for a portion of the trip. And, you can also earn rewards points on all your purchases that can be applied to your future travel expenses.

Lastly, if your credit card allows you to create spending limits, it is also possible to save money as you know that you need to start limiting your purchases for that day or week depending on why you created the spending limit.

6. Don’t Use a Credit Card

This suggestion might seem counterintuitive after the previous suggestion, but, studies have consistently shown that credit cards cause more spending. If you fall into this category, only use a credit or debit card to book your plane tickets, hotel nights, or rental cars. Try as much as possible to use cash or a debit card for your meals, entertainment, and souvenirs.

If you prefer using a debit card and have multiple accounts, set aside money into a vacation account so you do not pull from your regular savings. This can be another unconventional way to make sure you do not overspend on vacation.


Summer vacation is a highlight for many families. Coming home with no money in your pocket because you overspent your summer vacation budget isn’t fun. By practicing the above tips, you can have fun without breaking the bank on your next vacation.

Disclosure: The information provided by The Financial Genie is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with an attorney or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs. The Financial Genie does not make any guarantee or other promise as to any results that may be obtained from using our content. No one should make any investment decision without first consulting his or her own financial advisor and conducting his or her own research and due diligence. Additionally, some of the organizations with products on our site may pay us a referral fee or affiliate commission when you click to apply for those products.

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