Whether you’re travelling near or far, a summer vacation doesn’t have to drain your wallet. Here are some ideas for summer vacations on the cheap.

Look for Off-Peak Times

According to Trip Savvy.com, prices for hotels, airline flights, even car rentals, are based on a surge pricing model, or, in other words, peak times. In most cases, prices at most popular getaway spots mirror school vacations. The most expensive times are typically when school is out.

For instance, it’s cheaper to visit Disney World in Florida in August through Labor Day since Florida schools reopen in early August. Conversely, June is a prime off-season month in the northeast because schools are still in session. Try to plan your trip to a destination where kids are in school.

Hotel and airfare rates drop during the summer in the Caribbean. Travel Channel says that Maho Bay Camps in St. John are a summer bargain for families. Kids under 16 are free with paying adults.

Hotel Alternatives

Consider staying at a bed and breakfast instead of a hotel. B&Bs are typically much less expensive than hotels and offer many free amenities including breakfast, concierge and WiFi. Also, B&Bs are known for their personal service.

A beach house or a condominium are also great alternatives to a hotel. A vacation rental can provide more space and is a great value. Rentals are available in all sizes and usually have full kitchens.

Booking Flights

Use CheapAir.com to find the lowest priced airline tickets. The site scans the web for the best prices then shows you the results.

Food

When your family is eating out three meals a day, it can become quite expensive very quickly. Staying at a vacation rental, an extended stay or all-suite hotel with a kitchen or just a microwave to prepare meals can save money on food. If you do eat out, go to a takeout eatery instead of a sit-down restaurant.

Camping

This is an economical way to vacation. Many states and national parks charge as little as $17 per night to pitch a tent at a campsite.

As you can see, there are several ways to enjoy a summer vacation without going broke!