Can’t Afford a Summer Vacation This Year? 4 Ideas to Consider


After a year of being cooped up at home, a lot of people are planning to get out and travel — especially during the summer, when school’s not in session and parents have more flexibility. But what if you can’t afford a vacation? Maybe money’s been tight, or you incurred extra childcare expenses during the pandemic that have done a number on your budget. If you can’t swing a summer vacation, here are some options.

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1. Take a stay-cation

It costs money to reach a destination and put a roof over your head once you get there. If you’re low on funds, a better bet may be a stay-cation. Rather than go someplace, explore your own neighborhood. Try a new museum, drive to a less-trafficked hiking trail, and dine at restaurants you haven’t tried. You may be surprised at how much there is to do close to where you live, and taking a stay-cation may help you appreciate your hometown even more.

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2. Use credit card rewards to help fund your trip

If you’ve racked up rewards on your credit cards, you could cash them out to swing a summer vacation. You may even be eligible for a free flight, or a few free nights at a hotel. If you have enough cash back from your credit cards, use the money to book a rental in an area with a lot of free entertainment — for example, a beach house, where the main cost is renting accommodation.

3. Get a side hustle now

While many people are already booking summer travel plans, you can always try a last-minute booking. You might land a great deal. And if you get yourself a side gig in the next week or two, you could have a solid two months or longer to earn trip money.

4. Try a barter-cation

Maybe you can’t afford to rent a beach house for a week, but if you’re handy, try bartering with a vacation home owner to fix up the property in exchange for a reduced rate or free stay. Reach out to rental home owners through sites like Airbnb and VRBO to see what arrangements you can negotiate.

A lot of us can’t wait to travel this summer. If you’re worried about affording a vacation, consider these options. And also, don’t despair. If it doesn’t work out to take a trip this summer, there’s always later, and if you put a summer 2022 trip on your radar now, you have plenty of time to save for it.

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