Your Guide to Summer Vacation on a Budget

Date posted: May 19, 2017
by:
Camping

Photo Credit: Glen Jackson

Every year, a little more than half of all Canadians pack up for a summer vacation. Of those that take these trips, they tend to spend an average of $1,700 on their vacations. While this might be the average, it is certainly a lot for anyone looking to advance their financial situation. If you want to take a vacation this summer, but you can’t afford to shell out $1,700, don’t despair! There is plenty of options for a frugal vacation with your family that won’t break the bank. Here are my suggestions:

Go Camping

Camping is a great way to have a frugal family vacation. You’ll spend just $30-$40 per night instead of hundreds of dollars on a hotel, and you’ll be able to get back to nature and enjoy hiking. Many campgrounds are close to beaches and offer a variety of activities including canoeing or crafts for the kids.

While camping is hands down a frugal option for your summer vacation, there are a few caveats to that statement. In particular, it is easy to get out of hand with your spending on gear. Buying the required equipment to go camping does not have to be expensive, as long as you stick to a strict budget. If you aren’t careful, accumulating the necessary equipment to go camping can add up to hundreds of dollars. Instead of going to your local Canadian Tire and filling your cart, ask friends and family for spare gear, and check your local Kijiji or Craigslist listings for gear that may have been used for one season and is now half the price of a new item.

These simple tactics will dramatically reduce the cost of your camping trip.

Spend A Week at a Cottage

If having nothing between you and nature but a mesh tent wall isn’t your idea of a good time, consider renting a cottage instead. Cottages still provide the benefit of fresh air and proximity to beaches and attractions but also come with modern day amenities that many of us expect like hot water and Wi-Fi.

There are many options for cottage rentals on Airbnb or through local listings, and on average they will be less expensive than a hotel rental. To keep the costs even lower, consider sharing the rental with another family and allowing the kids to camp outside in a tent.

Find Free Activities

No matter whether you choose to go camping, book a cottage or go all out and rent a hotel, there are other ways you can keep the cost of your vacation down. One of the biggest costs of a vacation, besides accommodations and travel, is activities. By finding inexpensive or free activities to fill up your vacation, you could save hundreds of dollars.

In particular, 2017 will be a great year to find free attractions because it’s the 150th anniversary of the founding of Canada. Because of this, all of the Parks Canada sites are free to attend all year round. The free attractions include a wide range of sites like Federal parks and historic sites. Admission is free at most of these attractions, but keep in mind that add-ons like camping or tours will still cost you.

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