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15 Insider Tips to Enjoy a Debt-Free Vacation

5 Minute Read

If you go on a trip this summer without a budget, your money will dissolve faster than a sand castle at high tide. To help you make great memories without going into debt, we asked Dave’s Facebook fans to share how they saved cash while enjoying a week of work-free and debt-free bliss. Here are their top 15 money-saving tips:

1. Save a Little Each Week

"I did the $1 Savings Jar: week one, save $1; week two, save $2 . . . After a full year, you will have over $1,300 saved! It’s such a minimal increase, you don’t notice it. Just fit it into your zero-based budget!" - Keri B.

2. Ask for a Discount

"We went to Jamaica for our 10-year anniversary this summer. We’ve learned to always ask for a military discount when booking a vacation. Even in Jamaica they gave us 10% off our resort when we asked. Always ask!" - Cynthia P.

3. Go All-Inclusive

"When I’m on a tight budget, we book a cruise or an all-inclusive resort so we know exactly how much we need and there are no surprises. We plan ahead for tipping and usually spend no more than $50 on extras." - Sarah C.

4. Vacation When the Kids Are Away

"We planned our vacation while the kids were at summer camp. We went away for five days to refresh and do what we love: hiking and floating down the river. We paid cash for the entire trip and spent less than $800." - Jennifer W.

5. Speak to a Real Person

"Make reservations in advance and check for online deals, but before you book, call a representative to see if they can find you something even better. We booked our suite so far in advance that half the nights were only $4!" - Courtney W.

6. Rent From a Friend

"Ask around. We stayed at a condo owned by a friend of a friend and got a good deal. We paid much less than if we had simply rented the first condo we saw." - John H.

7. Shop Black Friday

"We always book the next year’s vacation on Black Friday. Lots of times they run very good discounts on Black Friday only." - Lori B.

8. Bundle Your Travel

"We went to Boston for seven days and saved over $500 by booking our hotel and airfare together instead of purchasing the same hotel and flight separately." - Travis C.

Related: It’s True! You Can Travel Without a Credit Card

9. Organize With Envelopes

"I took my nephew on a graduation trip to Japan for 18 days. I saved for a year using the envelope system. I had an envelope for flights, tours and daily spending. Each envelope had a date for the days we traveled and that’s all we could spend for that day." - Kimberly H.

10. Try an Indirect Flight

"We went to Key West for eight nights and saved big money flying to Fort Lauderdale instead of flying direct." - Abby D.

11. Commute to Main Attractions

"We went on a four-day honeymoon and paid cash for it all. We saved more than $300 by staying 25 minutes from the beach." - Mellisa C.

12. Use a Slow Cooker

"I make a few freezer meals and put them fully frozen in a cooler. We get a room with a fridge, and then use the slow cooker to warm the meals while we’re out and about. It saves a ton of money." - Stephanie R.

13. Grab a Go Pass

"We took advantage of the Go Pass for Orlando. These are available for a lot of major U.S. cities and offer considerable savings to big attractions!" - Beth C.

14. Eat Out Early

"We would eat out at around 4 p.m. and get the early bird specials and beat the crowd. The best part was we had the beach to ourselves for sunset because everyone was waiting to eat at the restaurants." - Richie H.

15. Plan a Staycation

"We are paying off major medical bills so we decided to stay home. We still had a vacation—just locally. We visited an arts center, saw an opera, and attended local events for little or no money. And eating a picnic at a park was fun and intimate." - Rask B.




Whether you’re taking a family of six to the beach or planning a European getaway for two, figure out how much vacation you can actually afford. If you’re planning to go somewhere later in the summer or in early fall, you still have time to save for a great trip—and pay for it in cash!

Need a way to keep track of your vacation savings? Check out our free budget software EveryDollar.

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