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Natural Awakenings Jacksonville-St. Augustine AND Greater Daytona Beach

Having Fun in the Sun on a Budget

Jun 01, 2022 01:34PM ● By Carol Ann Aldridge


With COVID-19 restrictions lessening more each day, the return to normal summer activities is upon us. From visiting amusement parks, to destination vacations, to going to see loved ones, many summer activities can wreak havoc on your budget … but they don’t have to! Here are five summer-savings tips to help keep your wallet in shape:


Plan Ahead

When planning for a vacation, it is best to think ahead and develop a budget. If you have an idea of where you would like to visit, booking ahead can give you the advantage of early-bird discounts as well as a view of the best rates available. Try scheduling your trip around peak travel times, so as to avoid inflated prices and crowded venues.


Compare Your Options

Popular tourist destinations will often be more crowded and expensive. Why not do a little research and compare similar
options? For example, if you want to visit a theme park, Disney will most certainly be more expensive than, say, Wild Adventures, but both offer amusement park rides and a similar atmosphere. And if you want a beach getaway, lesser-known beaches will have minimal traffic, which means you typically won’t have to pay for parking or beach access. 


Prioritize What Matters

Once you have settled on where and when you would like to vacation, your next step is to prioritize what’s most important. Is it lodging, dining or activities that matter most? Once you have determined what you’d like to spend in each category, you

can set a daily limit. If you really would like to cut costs, you may want to consider cooking some of your own meals or packing your lunch for the day and bringing your own alcoholic beverages, if that’s important to you.


Look for Free or Inexpensive Events

Each year, millions of people flock to our beautiful state to vacation, while we are fortunate enough to live here year-round. Being a local gives each of us access to free or reduced admission to many museums, exhibits and even amusement parks (looking at you, Disney!). If venturing outside is more your style, taking a scenic drive and/or camping are both budget-friendly options, because who said fun has to cost anything?


Be Flexible

Try not to focus on the ideal dream getaway; sometimes improvised plans can be more fun and better for your budget. If your flight was cancelled, consider driving (which can be less expensive depending on gas prices), or if your luxury hotel is booked, stay with friends or family. Vacations are all about the experiences and time spent with your loved ones.


    Summer is right around the corner, and you deserve a little R&R without breaking the bank. Remember the best vacations don’t have to be complicated, stressful or expensive. With proper planning, budgeting and a little bit of creativity, you and your loved ones can have a successful summer vacation.


Carol Ann Aldridge is a certified lending counselor for Alive Credit Union. For more information about Alive Credit Union, call 904-296-1292 or visit