Last Minute Budget Summer Vacations for Cash-Strapped Student Loan Debtors
August 5, 2013

It may still feel like Summer – the sunny days are still burning hot most everywhere – but trust us, Fall is just around the corner. If you’re knee deep in student loan debt, you may not have indulged in a vacation this year, even if you’ve got days to burn, because you just can’t afford to. We at not only sympathize with your debt, but we know how important it is to be able to take a breather from your financial stress. Check out these great last minute summer vacations you can take for super cheap:

#1 Camping One of the great things about camping is that, if done right, it can be very affordable. You can do it at state or national parks within an hour or a day’s driving distance and soak up the beauty of the great outdoors. If you don’t have a tent and camp stove, I guarantee you’ve got an uncle or friend that does. Camping is nice in the late summer because the evenings are cool – plus s’mores and hotdogs are cheap to make and tasty to enjoy around the campfire. Another great benefit: unplugging from technology can help you de-stress from your financial woes and get in touch with your inner Bear Grills!

#2 Beach If you’re within driving distance of a beach, you can have an affordable vacation seaside because beaches are free to enjoy. Hit up friends or relatives and beg for a room or couch from someone who lives near the surf or combine this with idea #1. You can camp close to most beaches at a KOA or state park. Bring sunscreen, a cooler of drinks and snacks (so you don’t splurge on beachside food or drink), beach chair or towel (borrow, borrow, borrow) and a good book (grab free reads from the library). De-stress and get a late summer glow without resorting to the cost or annoying orange of a spray tan!

#3 Theme Parks You may think theme parks are too expensive on your non-existent budget, but there are ways around that. Hit up relatives, friends or beg strangers on Craigslist for about-to-expire coupons that can get you into a park for cheap or free. Six Flags has late summer “bring a friend for $4.99” vouchers and other parks offer similar cheap or free tickets to passholders. Beg or borrow a free or low cost pass, smuggle in a backpack of sandwiches and a water bottle and get your thrill on for cheap. The smell of funnel cakes and ride-induced nausea will no doubt take your mind off your debt!

#4 Group Rental Your friends are probably in the same student loan predicament and also desperately need a week off. Pool your cash and rent a house or condo mid-week. You can find late summer rates for about $300-$700 (or less). Split that 10 ways and you’ve got a week of vacation accommodations for near nothing. House lessors are accustomed to crowds and won’t freak out like hotels do at the thought of lots of guests crammed in. Split the gas money and carpool theret, BYOR (bring your own Ramen), chip in for cheap beer and you’ve got a stress melting vacay for next to nothing!

#5 Timeshare If you’ve got a regular job, look for a timeshare sponsored trip. You can often score a weekend that includes hotel, food vouchers and theme park tickets if you meet minimum qualifications. Different resorts set minimum age requirements, some ask for a minimum income and some want only married couples. You’ll be forced to sit through a 90 minute high-pressure sales pitch, but the good news is that you have a built in excuse: “Sorry dude – I’ve got $30k in student loans!” This is a great way to enjoy a low (or no) cost trip that can take your mind off your school debt for a few days!

#6 Friends and Family You know that friend or great aunt that’s always bugging you to come and stay? Now’s your chance to make good on that promise while enjoying some time away from your day to day. Bring a book and your laptop (with your Netflix log-in) to take advantage of any free time you can bask in while enjoying a low cost vacation. Not only will you get away from the stress of your life, but you’ll build up some positive karma from delivering on that overdue pledge to come and hang out with family and friends. You can also return the favor and allow them to couch-crash with you another time.

No matter what your student debt sitch – everyone deserves a little breather from dwelling on your finances. We hope this gives you some ideas on how to enjoy the last vestiges of summer without busting your budget. Other cool things that are free: sign up for’s free student loan management tool to keep an eye on all your loans and check out our blog for great ideas on how to deal with your debt!