Are you due for a vacation but your wallet isn’t exactly ready for an extended excursion? Consider these ideas to unwind on a dime.

  1. Become a local tourist. A “staycation” at home is a popular way to see your city in a whole new light. Consult travel publications and websites to find local attractions you haven’t yet visited. Chances are you’ll find several interesting sights nearby that you didn’t know existed, and your accommodations are free, with the comfort of your own bed!
  2. Get back to nature with a camping trip. One of the least expensive ways to vacation is by pitching a tent. Passes to state and national parks are typically inexpensive, and you’ll save big by cooking your own food instead of dining out at restaurants. If you don’t really consider yourself the “camping type,” you may be surprised how much things have changed in recent years. Many sites feature access to showers, an onsite pool, camp store and electricity! Do a little research before your trip to be sure you have access to the amenities that are important to you.
  3. Crash with people you know. Staying with family or friends can mean substantial savings on your vacation. Not only does it reduce lodging costs, but you also have a local to give you tips on what’s worth seeing in the area. Bonding over a home-cooked meal and board games can be fun, too!
  4. Try a house swap. Coordinate your vacation with another family and trade homes for the duration of your trip. Both families can save money and get a sense for what living in the area is actually like. You can use a reputable home-exchange site to help organize your swap and ensure a safe experience, or coordinate with a family you already know. Provide a list of your favorite spots for the family to check out while they’re in town.
  5. Treat yourself to a last-minute-deal local hotel stay. You don’t have to travel far for a change of scenery. Check area hotels for great last-minute deals! It can be a fun way to get out of the house, splash around in the pool, have a massage and more—even one night away can be a memorable way to recharge. A nice hotel located in a business district might have great weekend deals for a local retreat.
  6. Make it a weekend getaway instead of a week away. Cutting down on the number of days you’re traveling is a quick and easy way to save money. You’ll save on packing, dining and lodging, not to mention research and planning time. Narrow your itinerary to a few top highlights and focus on enjoying quality over quantity.

No matter what you decide for your next vacation, planning ahead is smart so your finances are ready when you are. A savings account set up specifically for your vacation fund can help keep your travel budget intact, and automatic transfers can make saving painless. If a bigger trip is in your future, consider building your travel fund by opening a certificate that earns dividends over a specific term.