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 break means a trip to a theme park, beach resort or another memory-making summer vacation spot. Families with busy schedules or tight budgets may also use the time as an opportunity to relax at home, spending lazy days at the local pool.
No matter how you’re planning your summer vacation, it’s probably going to cost more than you were anticipating. With the annual inflation rate still high, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a 5% average price increase on all consumer items over the past twelve months, what are today’s parents doing to prepare for summer break?
We asked three moms how they were handling summer getaways without breaking the bank. Here are their stories—and feel free to take a few of their summer vacation ideas as you plan your own family vacations.
The mom who cut 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 creating memories for my kids is extremely important to me,” Kosciuk told us. “It’s also very important to me to go on vacation and truly be able to relax. That means no cooking for me!”
With that in mind, Kosciuk cut back on other areas of her budget in order to give her family the vacation of their dreams—and hers. “We are still taking our annual beach vacation this summer. This year we actually splurged a little more than usual and reserved an oceanfront room. I cut spending in other areas in order to be able to make this happen.”
For Kosciuk, this means shopping at lower-cost grocery stores like Aldi’s and Sam’s Club. She also decided not to throw big birthday parties for her kids—“They’re a huge expense,” she explained—in order to prioritize family vacation time.
“A fun, relaxing vacation is a must for me, and is the one thing all year that I’m not willing to compromise on.”
The mom who is picking 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 teens help with the planning, and had guidelines for the pricing so that they could learn to budget.”
The three of them are going to keep their vacation within driving distance, since her son has his license and can help drive. They’re also going to 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 is coordinating with her extended family to save money on hotels and meals, and working extra hours to ensure that she can cover the costs of summer break. “We are doing things in cities where we have families, so we can offset some of the costs. I’m taking on overtime work and picking up extra gigs, so we won’t have to touch our savings.”
The mom who is going 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 clothing.
“The COVID years have taught us so much,” says LaHann. “It caused us to stop, reflect, and evaluate our lives in ways we may have not done before.
“Now that society is opening back up 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 the basics for summer. We go on picnics, walks in the forest preserve, family car rides to get 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 it’s exactly what her family needs right now.
“These activities may not be flashy, but they’re on trend for our family at this life stage. 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. In the end, I think that’s the key to happiness and what life is all about.”