It seems like spring has just begun – but summer vacation will be here before you know it. For some families, June, July and August are perfect times to visit grandparents and relatives. For others, summer vacation means a trip to a theme park, beach resort, or other memorable summer vacation spot. Families with busy schedules or tight budgets can also use the time as an opportunity to relax at home and spend lazy days at the local pool.
No matter how you plan your summer vacation, it will probably cost more than you bargained for. With annual inflation still high and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting an average price increase of 5% on all consumer goods over the past twelve months, what are today̵7;s parents doing to prepare for summer break?
We asked three moms how they managed summer trips without breaking the bank. Here are their stories – and feel free to take some of their summer vacation ideas as you plan your own family vacation.
The mother who reduced spending in other areas
Brenda Kosciuk is a parenting expert, educator and mother of two. She runs Paper Heart Family, a resource for moms, and understands the importance of planning a memorable summer vacation.
“Traveling with my family and making memories for my kids is extremely important to me,” Kosciuk told us. “It is also very important for me to go on holiday and really relax. That means no cooking for me!”
With that in mind, Kosciuk cut back on other parts of his budget to give his family the dream vacation—and hers. “We’re still taking our annual beach vacation this summer. This year we actually spent a little more than usual and booked an oceanfront room. I’m cutting back on other areas to make this happen.”
For Kosciuk, that means shopping at cheaper grocery stores like Aldi’s and Sam’s Club. She also decided not to throw big birthday parties for her children — “They’re a huge expense,” she explained — to prioritize family vacation time.
“A fun, relaxing vacation is a must for me, and it’s the one thing I’m not willing to compromise on all year.”
The mother who picks up extra work
Kita Bryant is a photographer and video marketing expert who also runs the Gullah/Geechee themed clothing store SheGeechee. After her husband passed away, Bryant took on the challenge of raising two children on her own — and this year, she’s hoping to plan a vacation that doesn’t require her to break into her savings account.
“Inflation is a huge factor in our choices,” Bryant explained. “I let my teenagers help with the planning and had pricing guidelines so they could learn to budget.”
The three will keep their vacation within driving distance, as her son has his driver’s license and can help drive. They will also focus on activities that everyone will enjoy. “I wanted them to plan something that fit everyone’s personalities or had something for all of us to do.”
Bryant coordinates with her extended family to save money on hotels and meals, and works extra hours to ensure she can cover the cost of the summer vacation. “We do things in cities where we have families, so we can offset some of the costs. I take on overtime and pick up extra gigs, so we don’t have to touch our savings.”
The mother who will go back to basics
Melissa LaHann is a mother of three and the founder and CEO of LatchPal, a breastfeeding clip that allows nursing mothers to feed their babies without worrying about their clothes.
“The Covid years have taught us so much,” says LaHann. “It made us stop, reflect and evaluate our lives in ways we might not have done before.
“Now that society is opening up again, we have the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with restaurants, museums, indoor play, flights and travel. While our young family is excited to explore these things, we’ve found ourselves going back to basics for the summer. We go on picnics, walks in the forest reserve, family car rides to buy ice cream and spend hours at the local pool.”
LaHann knows that a summer of swimsuits and ice cream cones might not match the trends on Pinterest and Instagram—but that’s exactly what her family needs right now.
“These activities may not be flashy, but they are trendy for our family in this life. Sometimes pushing the boundaries with little ones just isn’t worth it. So this summer we’ll be doing scavenger hunts at the arboretum, exploring local bakeries and enjoying the simple things. At the end of the day, I think that’s the key to happiness and what life is all about.”