December 12, 2017

5 Ways to Avoid a Staycation this Summer


If you haven’t noticed, gas prices are on the rise. According to a recent survey, gas prices are up 12 cents in the last two weeks. That’s on top of an 18 cent price increase in the previous two weeks. Geesh, no wonder it cost me nearly $75 to fill my tank the other day. So what does this mean for summer travel plans?

While it’s still too early to tell how gas prices will affect summer travel, $4 per gallon is where families start to re-consider the affordability of their vacation plans. We’re pretty close to that figure now. I just drove by the gas station and regular unleaded was around $3.90 per gallon.

And guess what, the same pinch you’re feeling as you drive up to the pump is going to affect you as you start looking for airfares. So, what’s a family needing to get away for some rest and relaxation to do when it just keeps getting more and more expensive to get out of town?

I’m not even going to suggest a staycation. Instead, take a look at these five ways to save money where you can and avoid a staycation this summer.

Find the Lowest Gas Prices. There are loads of online and mobile apps, like GasBuddy, AAA’s TripTik Mobile and MapQuest Gas Prices that find cheap gas for you. These apps help you find the lowest prices while you’re on-the-go so you’re not left paying the steep prices at the gas station just off the interstate. Also, gas up mid-week since prices go up on the weekends.

Set Up an Airfare Tracker. It’s impossible to monitor every online travel and airline website every day to find the best deals, so set up flight alerts on Airfare Watchdog to get low fare email alerts for travel to your destination, or to anywhere from your home airport if you’re not quite sure yet where you want to go on a family vacation.

Hunt Down Free Activities. Many cities have free days to visit the zoo, museums, art galleries, and more. Once you know where you want to go, go online and search for something like “free activities in Boston.” Check out my post called 10 Cities to Check out for Free Family Fun for lots of freebies in Chicago, London, London, San Diego and more.

Buy Coupon Booklets. Nearly every city has an Entertainment Book, and these are a great way to save money on local activities, restaurants and hotels. Order one online for the city you want to visit, and then look for more coupons online and using their mobile app. Another one to check out for coupons is Enjoy the City, which also has booklets for multiple destinations.

Bring Your Own Food. If you’re planning to stay in a hotel, pack an entire suitcase with food. I’m talking breakfast cereals, granola bars, juice boxes, cookies, anything that won’t break into a million pieces in transit. Also, pack Wet Ones, paper plates and plastic utensils. Plan ahead, look for grocery deals and use coupons and you’ll save a bundle.

So, what are your best tips for saving money so you can get out of town and avoid a staycation? I’d love to hear your favorite tips, so leave a few in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Eric Rice


  1. We do annual cross country family road trips each summer for the past 3 years. Last summer was 40 days and gas prices were a concern. This article hits the nail on the head. We used most of these suggestions. Thanks for passing on the tips.

  2. Thank you, Erin, for getting this message out there.
    It’s important for family bonding and head clearing to get outta town and avoid a staycation.

    My family has swapped our home 12 times in 12 years, domestic and international. Most of the time we swap cars too. Double savings! If you can use airline miles, the vacation is free!

    Happy vacation to all.

  3. Karen Dawkins says:

    We love to travel, but sometimes, a staycation fits the budget or the time best. When my hubby can take a couple days off to make a long weekend, we staycation and have a blast! The key is to look at staycation as vacation, and not just time off work at home. Our new product line, “Staycation in a Box,” includes everything a family needs to make memorable staycations. “We plan so you can play!” Stop by and check it out!

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