How to travel on a budget this summer

By: Krystal Yee

© Arcurs Author: Canadian Living Credits: © Arcurs


How to travel on a budget this summer

By: Krystal Yee
Summer is here, and while many people are looking to book vacation time, many more of us are wishing we had started saving a lot earlier so that we had the money for a fantastic summer getaway.

But if you have to travel on a budget, it doesn't mean you can't go on vacation this summer. You might not be able to swing a month-long Mediterranean cruise, or take a trip down under to Australia, but with a bit of planning and creativity, you can put together a memorable vacation on any budget.

Here are five tips to help you travel on a budget this summer:

1. Take a local getaway
It's likely there are plenty of destinations to take advantage of within a three- to five-hour drive of your hometown, which means you needn't look too far for getaway ideas this summer.

For example, a short drive out of Vancouver gets you to the Okanagan, where you can sip world-class wine while you lounge lakeside and work on your tan. Not far from Calgary and Edmonton are the Rocky Mountains, where you can explore Banff, Jasper, and the always-cool city of Drumheller -- the dinosaur capital of the world. So get out a map and see what nearby destinations are just waiting to be explored.

2. Fly to/from alternate airports

When you're monitoring the prices of flights online, make sure to check the prices of flights from smaller airports too; sometimes the prices will be significantly cheaper. If you happen to live close to the U.S. border, make sure to keep an eye out on the prices of flights from the nearest American airport.

3. Use coupon and group buying sites
Did you know that websites like Groupon and Jaunt offer packaged vacations available for purchase? You can find discounts on a variety of options like spa vacations to Whistler, weekend getaways to Vegas, and family hotel adventure packages. It's a great way to snag a discounted vacation, or help you come up with ideas to create your own getaway.

Page 1 of 2 -- Thinking of going on a cruise this summer? Find out how you can save money and get great deals on page 2.
4. Look into repositioning cruises
You can also get great deals on one-way cruises, often times called repositioning cruises. These cruise ships are relocating to other destinations, and instead of sailing with an empty ship, they offer repositioning cruises at a much cheaper rate.

These cruises often incorporate many sea days, and you would have to pay for your one-way flight home, but for the right price, it can be worth it to spend a few weeks cruising through the Caribbean, or taking a transatlantic trip to Portugal.

5. Volunteer
If you're looking for a unique experience, you might want to consider a volunteering vacation, where you can teach English, build schoolrooms, and help in local vegetable gardens.

With an organization like International Volunteer HQ, the program fee for a two-week volunteer mission to Thailand will set you back just $380 and includes orientation, administrative costs, accommodation, and meals, but you will be responsible for your own visa, vaccinations, spending money and roundtrip airfare.

Even when money is tight, taking a vacation each year is an important step to maintaining your personal well-being.

So when you're planning your next getaway, remember that even if you have to travel on a budget, enjoying your time away from work and making memories with friends and family is what you will remember from your vacation -- not the price tag.

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How to travel on a budget this summer