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Summer is the perfect time to relax, unwind, and explore new destinations. However, the cost of vacations can quickly add up, making it essential to plan ahead and find ways to save money. Whether you’re planning a vacation or even a staycation, we want your summer to thrive! Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a memorable summer vacation without breaking the bank.

1. Plan and Book Early

One of the best ways to save money on summer vacations is to plan and book early. Flights, accommodations, and popular attractions sometimes offer discounts for early bookings. By planning ahead, you can take advantage of these deals and avoid the price hikes that occur closer to the travel dates.

2. Travel During Off-Peak Times

Traveling during off-peak times can significantly reduce the cost of your vacation. Consider going on your trip in late August or early September when prices tend to drop. Additionally, flying mid-week rather than on weekends can result in cheaper airfare.


3. Use Rewards and Loyalty Programs

If you have a credit card that offers travel rewards or belong to a hotel or airline loyalty program, now is the time to cash in those points. At ORNL FCU, members have the opportunity to earn rewards for every dollar spent when purchases are made using our ORNL FCU credit card. If you are going to go this route, just be mindful of your spending on any credit card and always try to pay off your balance each month to avoid any negative impact on your credit score.


4. Pack Wisely

Avoid extra baggage fees by packing light. Make a list of essentials and stick to it. If you're flying, check the airline’s baggage policy in advance to avoid unexpected charges. Packing snacks and reusable water bottles can also save money on food and drinks during your travels.


5. Use Public Transportation

While renting a car might be convenient, it can also be expensive. Consider using public transportation, walking, or biking to get around your destination. Many cities offer affordable day passes for buses and trains, making it easy to explore without the added cost of car rentals and parking fees.


6. Look for Free and Low-Cost Activities

Research free and low-cost activities at your destination. Many cities offer free museum days, outdoor concerts, and festivals during the summer. Hiking, visiting local parks, and exploring historical sites can provide hours of entertainment without costing a fortune.


7. Utilize Fee-Free ATMs

At ORNL Federal Credit Union, we are proud to offer over 30,000 fee-free atms nationwide for our members. Our ATMs are conveniently located so that you can access your money whenever you want. Additionally, members are able to check account balances and transfer funds as well as make deposits at ORNL FCU branch locations that have deposit-taking ATMs or Interactive Teller Machines (ITM).


8. Eat Like a Local

Dining out can quickly become one of the most significant expenses of a vacation. Save money by eating like a local. Visit farmers' markets, grocery stores, and food trucks for affordable and delicious meals. If your accommodation has a kitchen, consider cooking some of your meals to save even more.


9. Use Discount Sites and Apps

Take advantage of discount sites and apps like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Travelzoo for deals on activities, dining, and even accommodations. These platforms often offer significant discounts on experiences that can enhance your vacation without draining your wallet.


10. Set a Daily Budget

Setting a daily budget for your vacation can help you manage your expenses and avoid overspending. Determine how much you can afford to spend each day on food, activities, and souvenirs, and stick to it. Tracking your spending can help you stay within your budget and enjoy your trip without financial stress.

And don’t forget, ORNL FCU members have the ability to set up travel notices through our online banking and mobile app. Additionally, by adding your ORNL FCU debit card to your mobile wallet, it allows you to spend more time enjoying the summer fun and less time worrying about unexpected financial situations. 

A memorable summer vacation doesn’t have to be expensive. With careful planning and a few savvy strategies, you can save money and still have an incredible time. By booking early, traveling during off-peak times, and taking advantage of rewards and discounts, you can enjoy a fun and budget-friendly summer getaway. Happy travels!

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