Ways To VocationSummer vacation is almost here! Ready to finally relax, catch up on sleep, and not be “teacher” all day?

After a busy school year, the things you need most are peace and relaxation. But sometimes, summer vacations aren’t quite as restful as we hoped. Especially when you see how much money you’ll spend in just a week or two.

So how can you have an amazing vacation without going over your budget?

Here are five ideas you might want to try:

  1. Save on accommodations.

    Tired of spending most of your vacation budget on your hotel room? Try house-swapping. Start by asking friends or family in other states or cities. If someone thinks it’s a good idea, make plans to swap houses for an agreed-on length of time.

    While at their house, you can use their kitchen to cook meals and keep things in the fridge. You’ll get to explore attractions near their home. And if they have a pool, you’ll get to enjoy that too!

    Another way to save on vacation accommodations is to get a bunch of friends together and rent a vacation home. Splitting the cost between five friends or couples means more money to save, and you’ll have a kitchen to use.

  2. Try a “staycation.”

    It’s simple. All you have to do is stay at home—but treat it like an actual vacation. Here’s how:

    • Take a break from housework.
      Do laundry and clean your house right before your staycation. Then, once it officially starts, only spot clean when needed and eat off disposable paper plates to cut down dishwashing time. Or better yet—use some of the money you’ve saved to hire a housecleaning service for the week!
    • Give yourself a vacation experience.
      What are some things you’ve always wanted to do around your town/city/state? Swing by a visitor center to pick up brochures and coupons. Then, make a list of must–see places. Since you’re saving on travel and accommodations, you might be able to get dinner at a fancy restaurant, admission to a couple museums, tickets to a local amusement park, or a tour of the historic parts of your town/city—while staying well within your budget.
  3. Travel abroad for less!

    You can use your teacher status to get you a cost-effective (or even free) trip to another country. Teaching overseas could help you earn money, build your résumé, and maybe learn a new language. Plus, you’ll have some free time to explore or make short trips to neighboring countries.

    A few things to know:

    • You’ll need your passport and a visa.
    • Since many teaching positions in foreign countries are for teaching English, you might need ESL certification as well.
    • Remember that every school is different. Some may cover the costs of your plane fare. Others may provide accommodations. Even the rate that you’re paid can vary.

    Or, you could host a trip for your students. Educational tour companies look for teachers who can take their students on trips to foreign countries. Some also let you take a free training trip before the actual trip!

    It’s an adventurous way to see new places. Plus, you’ll learn interesting facts, make memories, and take pictures to share with your future classes.

  4. Spend on experiences—not things.
    • Don’t splurge on souvenirs or gifts. Give yourself a budget and try to buy practical things that you and your friends will enjoy.
    • Take advantage of teacher discounts. Many hotels, cruises, museums, amusement parks, and stores will give you a discount if you have your school ID handy.
    • Ever notice how much more things can cost at vacation destinations? This summer, stock your car with beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, bug repellant, and umbrellas.
  5. Enjoy the journey!

    Make your travel time a part of your vacation. Bring your favorite book to read while waiting in the airport. Or pack a special snack that you only eat on road trips. And don’t forget to give yourself extra time for spontaneous stops along the way.

    This might not seem like a money-saving tip. But think about it. Isn’t it easy to get overly focused on big, expensive things we think we have to have for an amazing vacation? Sometimes, we miss out on simple moments of calm and relaxation because we’re rushing to our dream destination.

    This summer, pull over at more scenic outlooks. Pause to take pictures of wildflowers or just look at the stars. And wherever you vacation, make it your goal to try something new, enjoy your journey, and exceed your expectations—not your budget.