Get Outta Town, Not Outta Cash: Affordable Summer Travel Ideas


Summer is the traditional vacation season–and for a number of good reasons.

First, the kids are out of school, so you can actually leave your home without compromising Junior’s education or missing any school plays/tournaments/recitals/PTA meetings/disciplinary conferences. Second, the warm weather means destinations from Alaska to Albuquerque to the Alleghenies are open for business, as it were. (Also you can visit places that are not in America and/or that do not start with the letter A.) And finally, with so many holidays spread throughout the summer months, from Memorial Day (not technically summer but hey, shaddup) to Flag Day to the 4th of July to Labor Day, summer means you have some free time that you should make the most of, mister!

If you plan your summer vacation carefully, summer travel can be quite affordable. If you’re flexible and a bit creative, your next vacation might be memorable, cheap, and lots of fun, too — hopefully this article will serve as just the inspiration your need to enjoy your own 2017 affordable summer getaway. And if you’re not creative, well, no problem… you already found this article, so just, y’know, do some of this stuff.

Affordable RV rental

Affordable RV

Renting an RV (that’s Recreational Vehicle, FYI) is not as cheap as you might think when you go through a traditional broker. It can cost a few hundred bucks a day to get a full-sized RV and that’s before you factor in gasoline. Also there are often fees for campgrounds that add even more to the price tag, and before long, you will have paid much more than a rental car and hotel combo would have cost. But RV vacations are great, what with all the resources you need (bed, bath, and beyond — er, kitchen) right there at all times. So what’s to be done? Why, just try out one of the peer-to-peer RV rental services that have cropped up in recent years. Companies like and Outdoorsy use the Air B&B model to help people like you rent an RV from a private owner like, um, Tom. And usually the rates are a fraction of the price you would pay with a regular dealer. Trailers are often less than $100/day, and fully equipped vans and RVs are often only $150 to $200 depending on your area.

Out-of-Season destinations

Out-of-season destinations

When you think of Aspen, Colorado, the mountains of Vermont, or even international alpine destinations such as resorts in the Canadian Rockies, you probably think of snow, skiing, and sky high prices. Well, during the summer months, many area known for their winter sports are much cheaper. You can often book a room in a ski town for half the cost of winter rates during the summer months, and provided you like hiking, biking, and generally spending time in nature, your recreational activities can be all but free. There are no lift tickets needed when you’re walking up a mountain, and if you’re cool with a picnic lunch, you can bring all the food and other gear you’ll need right on your back. As another bonus, ski resorts that are open for summer hiking mean all the pleasure of a nature excursion with all the convenience of bathrooms, restaurants, and shops close at hand.

Skip Vegas, Don’t Skip the Casinos


You don’t need to go to Las Vegas to have a sinfully great time this summer. There are plenty of other towns in America where gambling is legal. So if you’re looking for some fun in a spot where the booze flows like a river, where you and the gang can have a great time while winning or losing a fortune, and where there are plenty of opportunities for dining, dancing, and other whatnot, skip The Strip and try somewhere new. Atlantic City, for example, is way past its glamorous heyday, which is bad news for the local economy, but good news for you. Rooms are cheap, open gaming tables are plentiful, and the ocean is right there for a dip. Biloxi, Mississippi is another affordable city that offers plentiful gambling opportunities (at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino) and that has plenty of beaches for you to enjoy. If you live in the northeast, consider a day trip to Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods, which are both massive casino/resort complexes a few hours’ drive from New York City and Boston and the Pacific Northwest is chalk full of Native American-owned casinos and resorts. And then there’s always Reno, too.

Affordable Upscale Camping

Affordable upscale camping

A while back I went on this glamping trip, and it was amazing. Glamping, by the way, is a portmanteau fusing “glamour” and “camping.” The thing is, glamping can be pretty expensive when undertaken with a full-service provider. Fortunately, there are new companies setting up shop (or tent, should I say) that follow much the same peer-to-peer model as the RV rental services mentioned above. Groups like Tentrr partner with people who own a decent plot of land in relatively remote, perfectly picturesque spots and then set up an elegant semi-permanent campsite on the private property. For a rather modest fee, you and your SO or a few friends get a campsite replete with real beds in large cabin-like tents, fire pits, chairs, a camp toilet, and more. Most campsites cost only $125 per night–a steal compared to most glamping sites out there, which are often twice that price. Sure, you have to bring your own food and wine, but you have to do that if you just stay home, too. So get out there, have some fun.