Making Cents Blog

Budget-friendly summer vacation ideas

Budget vacation ideasJust because your vacation may be on a budget, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to cut out on the fun. Here are some helpful ideas that will make both your family and your wallet happy.
Plan ahead. Whether you are driving, flying, staying at a resort or sleeping in a tent, you can benefit from planning ahead. For flying, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on airline prices long before your trip. When you book your flight, it is recommended you go through the airline rather than the travel site. Online travel agencies charge a fee and the airline is more likely to accommodate you if the plane is over-booked or cancelled. Try to pack light and take a carry-on. Not only will this save you time, it might also save you money. Check your airline’s website for fee details. Also, don’t forget to bring snacks on the plane to avoid paying for over-priced airline food.
Camping is one of the most affordable ways to take a vacation and it also gives you quality time with your family that is sure to create lifelong memories. Make a list of everything you need ahead of time and give your kids some packing responsibilities. Start shopping early for supplies so you are able to keep an eye out for sales. If you get overwhelmed by the initial cost of camping equipment, try to think about how many inexpensive family trips they will provide you in the future.
Stay close to home. If you haven’t already made vacation plans, you should think about exploring local getaways. Pay a visit to nearby cities and get ideas of things to do by taking a look at their visitor websites. 
In Northern California, there’s an abundance of things to do for all ages and the great outdoors is no exception.  Go camping at one of California’s State Parks ( that range from the beach to the mountains. Want to enjoy nature but not keen on sleeping in a tent? Consider heading up to a ski resort, like Mammoth Mountain where you can get a “Stay and Bike” packages for off-peak pricing. 
There’s also plenty to do in North Carolina. Rent a house on the beach and go with friends so you can divide the costs. Take a road trip to South Carolina’s “best kept secret” Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina. Hiking, biking, fishing, and of course the beach give the family plenty to do. 
Adventure out to High Country in west North Carolina. Here you can explore mines and caves, walk across Mile High Swinging Bridge, go rafting, fishing, hiking, or take a look at historical museums. Go to for more vacation ideas.
Don’t pay the fees. Did you know that you can use any of the 60,000 ATMs in our network for free with your Alliance Credit Union ATM/debit card? Look at our ATM locator to find a free ATM near your vacation spot. 

What do you have to say? We want to hear your money-saving vacation ideas! Tell us what you think about the increasing fees that now come with flying. Do you have any camping tips that might help the inexperienced? What is your preferred travel Web site? What’s your favorite local getaway or attraction?

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