Summer is the unofficial season of vacations, especially for families, but with travel costs escalating, that dream of a far-flung exotic getaway may have to be put on the back burner for a bit.
Much has been made of inflation over the last year-plus, as the cost of seemingly everything has risen considerably since early 2022. And the cost of travel has increased by an even greater percentage than the cost of groceries. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index indicates the cost of airfare increased by more than 25 percent between January 2022 to January 2023.
However, consumers who want to travel but don’t want to break the bank can try various strategies to save some money and get out and about this summer.
With airfare costs skyrocketing, now might not be the most budget-friendly time to travel overseas. Thankfully, would-be vacationers can still get away. Average gas prices in early spring 2023 hovered around $3.43 per gallon, which is nearly $1 less per gallon than the year prior. By driving to their destinations, vacationers can save substantial sums of money and also maintain greater control of their trips, something that isn’t always so easy in an era marked by routine flight delays and cancellations.
Another way to ensure summer travel doesn’t put a big dent in your savings is to utilize cash back rewards linked to your credit card account. If you have a lot of cash and/or miles saved up, the coming summer of expensive travel could be the ideal time to use them.
Consider camping or using a homestay over a hotel. Homestays, which include bookings through sites such as AirBnB and VRBO, are typically much less expensive to book than hotel rooms for larger families. Homestays also save travelers money on food, as many listings feature fully operational kitchens that can help travelers avoid dining out three times per day over the duration of their trips.
Where will you go?
So you’ve decided to hit the road this summer. The next step is planning where you want to go.
Ballpark tour: For families that love baseball, a summer ballpark tour can be a truly unique experience. Whether families prefer Major League Baseball and its large ballparks or the more intimate settings at minor league stadiums, there’s no shortage of options on a ballpark tour. Both MLB and minor league stadiums tend to be located in large or mid-size cities, which means there’s plenty to do in between games as well.
Camper/RV trip: A family vacation in a camper or RV is a cozy way for families to bond as they vacation at their own pace. National parks across the United States and Canada make for ideal places to visit when touring each country in a camper or RV, but smaller state parks can sometimes be just as interesting. There’s really no limit to the experiences families can enjoy on self-driving trips when their beds are on board for the ride.
History road trip: Historical landmarks dot the North American landscape, making a history road trip a fun way to hit the road and learn a little something along the way. American history buffs have no shortage of historic sites to see regardless of which region of the country they plan to visit or which period of history most intrigues them, from the Revolutionary War to the California Gold Rush to the American Civil War and more.
Urban tours: One of the joys of visiting Europe is the chance to travel from city to city without spending too much time in the car or on the train between stops. Though North America might be more spread out, families can still tour various urban locales in a single vacation.
Parents can pick a region of the country (such as the northeastern United States) and then plan road trips that enable them to visit different cities in that area over the course of a week to two weeks. Make an effort to try the foods each city is known for and visit a local landmark, making sure to leave time to walk around so everyone can get a feel for what a day in each city is like.