5 Ways to Save Money on Your Summer Vacation

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The warm weather hasn’t even arrived yet, but it’s time to start thinking about your summer vacation plans. Where should you go, what should you see, and how much you’re going to spend takes a lot of time and consideration which is why you want to prepare yourself as best you can.

For many people, planning their summer vacation is a stressful process while for others, it’s part of the process that gets them excited about their travel plans. Today we’re sharing some tips on how to save money on your summer vacation.

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Summer Vacation

Be flexible

Summer travel is expensive, if your schedule allows it you’re much better off travelling during the spring or fall when airfare and accommodations tend to be about 10 – 25% cheaper. Now, if you must go during the peak season, consider flying at a less desirable time such as on a weekday or during the afternoon.

Don’t forget, where you go can also make a significant difference when it comes to your budget. Bali can be much cheaper than Hawaii and offers a unique cultural experience. Then there’s Ireland with its stunning landscapes and lower prices compared to the United Kingdom.

Book early

If you haven’t made any made any reservations for your trip yet, now is the time to do it! Flight prices are unlikely to go down the longer you wait. Plus, by booking early, you’ll get more choice when it comes to seat selection. Hotels can also get fully booked up, so if you have a specific property in mind, you’ll want to make that reservation now.

Keep in mind that some companies even offer incentives if you book early. Trafalgar offers savings up to $466 per person on trips to anywhere in the world when you book by the end of April while AccorHotels offers up to 30% off for reservations made 30 days in advance.

Use a travel rewards credit card

When used responsibly, a travel rewards credit card can be a great way to help you save on your some vacation. Many of them come with a huge signup bonus which can be worth $200-$600. Also, you’ll earn points for every purchase you make which can later be used to redeem free or discounted travel. Don’t forget about the additional benefits that come included such as travel insurance, lounge access, and car rental insurance which could be worth a few hundred dollars a year.

Keep in mind that credit cards come with an average interest rate around 20%. You should always pay your bills in full and on time every month. Any rewards you earn aren’t worth paying interest for.

Consider a tour

With summer creeping up, you may want to consider a guided vacation (a tour) since it doesn’t require any planning on your end. Reputable tour operators such as Contiki, Insight Vacations, and Intrepid Travel will take care of all the logistics including transportation, accommodations, sightseeing, guides, and some meals. Once you’ve booked, you can just start counting down.

Best of all, when you breakdown the cost of a tour, you’ll quickly realize that they can be significantly cheaper compared to if you booked everything on your own since everything comes bundled.

Buy or sell some of your stuff

When it comes to saving money on your summer travel, sometimes it comes down to managing your cash flow before you depart. Kijiji recently released their Second-hand Economy Index and found that Canadians earned an average of $1,134 per year selling items and saved an average of $825 per year through buying in the second-hand economy – that’s almost $2,000!

My wife and I travelled to Portugal for less than $2,000 last year. By changing your spending habits on a daily basis, you can free up some money which can go towards your trips. There’s nothing wrong with spending money, but would you rather spend it on experiences or things?

Final word

Travelling doesn’t have to be expensive. By making small adjustments to your spending and taking advantage of some of the above tips, you’ll be able to go abroad quicker than you know it.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Jaymee @ Smart Woman Blog on March 25, 2018 at 2:58 PM

    I am big fan of booking travel tours! I did when I went to Costa Rica and really enjoyed all the activities scheduled for us. There was less stress on my part trying to book and find reputable activities and operators in a foreign country and it’s a lot of fun meeting new people I did the tours with. I will definitely go the tour route in future travels especially because I have been travelling more solo lately. 🙂

    • Barry Choi on March 25, 2018 at 7:34 PM


      Although I prefer to book everything on my own, one of the best trips I ever took was with Intrepid Travel.

  2. Sophie on May 26, 2018 at 1:36 PM

    I think the rule of thumb when booking flights is to book two months in advance – too early can be expensive, and too late likewise. There are some really good flight comparison tools out there too! I use Google Flights and Skyscanner if I have a definite location in mind, but if you’re not picky about where you want to go Flight Hopper can be an incredible resource as well.

    • Barry Choi on May 26, 2018 at 1:38 PM


      I basically book once I know where I’m going. I don’t even bother trying to time things out. If I want to save money, I’m sure there are easier ways in my daily life to do so. Google Flights, Skyscanner, and KAYAK are all great options. I especially like KAYAK’s price alert tool.

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