The Broke Guide To Traveling This Summer On The Cheap

Updated: December 23, 2020

Summer is here, which for most people also means it’s time for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Taking time off for a summer vacation doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun and memorable. Even if you skip the amusement parks or forego typical tourist destinations, there are still plenty of affordable and fun ways to enjoy time off with family and friends.

Here are some budget-friendly ideas for a memorable summer vacation for the books.

Rent an RV or trailer.

Rather than staying in a pricey hotel, you can now rent an RV or trailer through numerous companies across the country. Some companies will drop the RVs off at campsites. You can turn that beach day into a week-long trip or use the RV for a road trip from coast to coast. You’ll also save money by being able to cook your own meals and, in some cases, do your own laundry.

Websites like Cruise America (and Cruise Canada) and RVShare provide a way to share and rent RVs, travel trailers, fifth wheels, pop-up tent trailers and even pet-friendly RVs. Some companies also offer solar-powered trailers. Be sure to pay attention to all of the requirements, as there are specific terms about mileage, cleaning and security deposits.

Sign up for a paid or in-kind internships.

Some internships provide you with a small stipend, living accommodations and/or meals in exchange for work. Find a place you haven’t been, turn it into a working holiday, and expand your skills and experience.

Learn more about these experiences by booking one through companies like or You can search by the time of year, type of internship, location, and subject area. Some of these travel-based internships also include college credits.

Take a global or local volunteer trip.

You’ll be able to immerse yourself in the culture while visiting another country and doing some social good. or both also offer volunteer programs for people of all ages.

International Volunteer HQ is another organization that has many types of volunteer programs, such as construction, child care, animal care, conservation, women’s empowerment, sports, and more. These projects help you feel like you are making a difference while also deepening your understanding and appreciation for other cultures, ways of living, and social conditions.

Look for sponsored opportunities.

This type of opportunity provides a way to learn, see a new place, and get some down time, with a sponsor footing the bill. This sounds wonderful, but remember that your sponsor should be treated as an investor. They want to know what they get out of paying your tab to travel. You’ll need to have a plan for the business, brand, or research organization behind your expedition that shows how you’ll provide the sponsor value. Include their name and information in blog or social media posts and visuals you share while traveling.

Use personal contacts, your social network, and online sites to seek out sponsors that are looking for unique ways to market and share their brands or message with their audience. If interested, they may make you a sponsorship offer.

Pet or house sit in another part of the country or world.

This is a legitimate experience that can save you money while also giving you time to explore and enjoy a new place. Sites like give you the opportunity to see the world while you care for someone else’s home or pets while they are away on their own vacation.

You will have to cover a membership fee, your transportation costs to get to the country, and some living expenses, but some people leave vehicles for you to use while there. There are specific visa requirements and other considerations, to keep in mind too.

With those thoughts in mind, now’s the time to start researching and booking your summer trip!

John Boitnott has been writing for TV, print, radio and internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for BusinessInsider, Fortune, NBC, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and Venturebeat, among others.

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