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Be Wise With Money

Maximize Your Vacation Dollar

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Budget-friendly ideas & tips for family vacations

Vacations allow you to spend much-needed time with family or friends, relax and rejuvenate, or experience new cities and cultures. Choosing how and where you vacation is up to you. But whether you plan to travel or stay close to home, there are plenty of ways to keep costs under control.

Money-saving travel tips

You can pack your summer full of fun and adventure without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you stretch your travel budget:

  • Check out "10 Ways to Save Money on Summer Travel."
  • Stay at hotels where kids eat free or ask for a room with a microwave and refrigerator.
  • Travel to areas when summer is the off-season. Look for discounts at off-peak locations like ski lodges where you can enjoy hiking, biking, climbing and other amenities for less.
  • If you like sleeping under the stars, check out the National Park Service for affordable camp sites.
  • Travel with friends or family to help split some of the lodging costs and perhaps even enjoy a larger space.
  • Shop for attraction discounts. Look for CityPASS ticket booklets, Groupons or seasonal discounts for your destination spot. However, do your homework to make sure it’s really a deal.
  • Download a few free travel apps to help you travel economically.

Perks of staycations

If you prefer to avoid overcrowded airports, pricy food or uncomfortable hotel rooms, consider a staycation this summer. Not only will you save money, you’ll likely reduce stress, support your local community and enjoy your own schedule. Here are some memorable ideas:

  • Like adventure? Try geocaching. Adults and kids across the country enjoy real-world treasure hunts using GPS. Find out more at Geocaching.com
  • Make a difference. Volunteer a day at a local Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity or lead a Thrivent Action Team to meet a local need.
  • Visit a local farmers market. In addition to local produce, many feature music, live demonstrations and handmade goods. Find yours at LocalHarvest.org.
  • Enjoy free admission days. Many museums and parks will offer a free admission day during the summer months. You may be able to find special pricing or discounted programs as well.
  • Like to cook? Try a new healthy recipe. Decorate the table in a theme to make it extra special. Check out these budget-friendly options for ideas.
  • Go from a couch potato to running a 5K. Invite friends, family and even your furry friends to join you in a 5K – the more the merrier! Sign up for one and explore a different part of your city or state. The website has training schedules, nutrition suggestions and much more.

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