Summer is upon us, and with it comes warm weather, fun outdoor activities, and — you guessed it — summer vacations. For many single parents, planning vacations can be a fun way to celebrate undivided time with your children. For others, however, vacations can spark financial stress, and it can be hard to know how to plan a trip without breaking the bank.

If you are wanting to plan a budget-friendly trip away with your kids, but don’t know where to begin, don’t worry! We’ve compiled some travel tips and deals — as well as a couple prime vacation destinations — to help you get started.

5 tips for affordable travel this summer

  1. Watch for deals online. Looking for a cheap flight or an affordable hotel? Lucky for you, there are plenty of online services that can help you look for the best travel deals. Check out Going to receive weekly emails of low-cost flights around the world or Hopper to freeze flights at their lowest price. You can also sign up for hotel and transportation price alerts from sites like Kayak or DealBase.
  2. Consider non-hotel options. Though hotels are traditional and easy to book, they aren’t always the most affordable. Thinking outside the box and looking at homestay options like Airbnb and Vrbo can give you a unique housing experience for less money. For more adventurous families, you can also consider camping. You can find affordable campsites on sites like
  3. Look for free family activities. Many cities have free options and activities for kids, including museums, parks, and restaurant deals. Research the place you want to go ahead of time to see what free activities you can discover during your trip to cut back on costs. Check out this article for some ideas!
  4. Time your trip efficiently. Hacks like booking flights mid-week, traveling during off-season times, or vacationing during the week versus the weekend can significantly lower costs for transportation and housing.
  5. Plan food ahead of time. On vacations, it is easy to eat out while you are exploring a new area. However, eating out every meal can get pricey fast. Planning ahead and getting groceries at the beginning of your trip can help offset the expense.

3 family-oriented and budget-friendly vacation spots

  1. Hershey, PA. Hershey is known for its chocolate-themed amusement park and history. A more affordable alternative to Disney World, at Hershey you can get more bang for your buck with free chocolate tours at Hershey’s Chocolate World and attractions like Hershey Gardens and ZooAmerica as well.
  2. Gulf Shores. Looking for a relaxing beach vacation? Gulf Shores and Orange Beach might be a great option for you. With free beaches at Gulf State Park and other activities like the Ferris Wheel on the Wharf, it is a fun and family-friendly location that can be done on a budget.
  3. Washington D.C. The nation’s capital, D.C. is known for its history and large expanse of free museums. You can spend days exploring the Smithsonian museums or historical sites like the Library of Congress or Ford’s Theater — all for free! This is a great alternative for an educational yet fun trip for children and adults alike.

At H.O.P.E. Inc., we want single parents to not have to worry about affording a fun trip with their children! If you are a single parent student looking for financial assistance, check out our program to see if H.O.P.E. might be the right fit for you!