Vacation on a Budget

5 Budget-Friendly Vacation Ideas

Here we are again, it’s summer time and we have beaches and vacation days in our sights. The harsh reality is, not everyone can afford a vacation. Most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and don’t have money saved for a “post-worthy” adventure. The good news is, I can give you 5 Budget-Friendly Vacation Ideas to get you out of the house and out the door on that dream vacation!

Oftentimes, I’ll recommend to start a vacation club account and have a chunk of money automatically transferred out of every paycheck. For some tricks on how to get a vacation fund started, check out our blog on How to Build Your Savings Fast. If you’re looking for savings assistance, we have a great option for that as well here at Focus. Now, let’s go over 5 budget-friendly vacation ideas to get your dream vacation on a budget!

5 Budget-Friendly Vacation Ideas

Search Discount Vacation Deals

Utilize sites like Groupon,, HomeAway, Living Social, Yipit, and Airfairwatchdog to find the best discounts. You can find up to 70% off travel, dining, events, and even products! The offers are usually for packages, but you can find hotel discounts as well. Sites like Airfairwatchdog will monitor flight deals and send you a notification when there’s a price drop. Groupon also offers deals on activities during your vacation and dining out.

Once you find a great deal on your airfare or hotel, book the rest of your vacation around that. The next step will be to check Groupon for deals on eating out, things to do and even personal services like massages. Your whole trip can be planned around your big discounts- and you can save hundreds!

Another hack would be to search for the best gas prices before you’re running on empty to make sure your gas bill stays low as well. Gasbuddy is a great way to save big bucks on your travel if you decide to drive.

Try a Volunteer Vacation

Do you have a passion for helping others and strengthening communities in other countries? Then, this vacation would be perfect for you!

Choose from projects such as childcare, teaching/education, healthcare, construction, elderly care, and more. Although there’s quite a bit of work involved, this vacation will add a lot more meaning by contributing to a great cause. And these organizations wouldn’t be successful without the help of volunteers like you! They often charge a program fee, but the cost is relatively low.

Destinations include Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, China, Ecuador, and Mexico. Visit International Volunteer HQ, Habitat for Humanity, or Frontier for details about their current projects and destinations.

Stay with Family

Staying with family could make your vacation more affordable. Cutting out one or two nights of hotel stays could save you hundreds! Try planning your trip around your family member’s home and use sites like Groupon and Living Social to score deals on attractions and eating out. This could be the difference between going to a theme park or staying home.

Staying with family could also offer some great alternatives like camping out, going to a theme park or taking the kids on a walk down memory lane. There’s a lot of history to be seen in most cities, so consider going to a local museum or historical site for some learning opportunities as well. Having a budget-friendly vacation doesn’t have to be boring!

Consider Hotel Alternatives

If staying with family isn’t an option, there are some alternatives. Try searching for alternatives such as Airbnb, VRBO, or vacation homes. These options can become available last minute and allow you to snag a great deal. They also allow you to have more room for the family and a kitchen as well to cut down on meal costs.

This might also be a good idea if you’re traveling with a large family or a group of friends. Splitting the cost of a cabin or house could mean more money for other adventures! One thing to look out for though, is the hefty cleaning fees. Always look at the total price for a place before booking to avoid costly cleaning fees. Some fees can be hundreds of dollars for just one stay in a large cabin.

Camping can also be a great alternative if you want to save some dough. Depending on where you stay, camp sites can be rented for as low as $8 a night. If a tent is not your style, consider renting a camper on RVshare. RVshare asks questions to find the right RV for your trip and they take care of all the details. This can still save you big on your vacation, especially if you’re planning a long trip!

Book Last Minute Deals

If booking a last-minute trip is feasible for you, try snagging a deal at This site is great for deals on flights, hotels, and attractions! This would be a great option for an extended weekend getaway on a budget! One thing to remember is the destination you want might be out of your preferred price range, but if you can be flexible, you can get a great deal!

So, take these 5 budget-friendly vacation ideas and run away with your vacation savings!