People either love or hate April.  I personally like it for a few reasons: busy season is over, my refund check is in the mail, and the weather is changing.  Not everyone gets to share in the same experiences as me since their busy season might be different, they may owe come tax time, or they dislike nice weather —you may want to be wary of anyone who dislikes nice weather.

Regardless, a lot of people lay out their plans for the tax refund.  Some prudently save, others frivolously spend.  As with most of life, there is a certain balance to what each person should do.  You want to be able to enjoy know, while still benefit later.  This is especially true with vacations.

Vacation planning is supposed to be a fun time to actualize your dreams. With proper planning you can find the right balance of enjoying the time now, while not feeling like you shouldn’t have spent money here.  So to help make planning a little easier on the mind, here are a few ways to get what you want without making major sacrifices.

National Parks:

America’s best idea offers interagency lifetime passes.  For anyone over 62, it is $10.  This grants you access to and use of federal recreation sites that otherwise charge an entrance fee.  The pass admits holder, spouse, children, and parents.  This is a great value.  My father was helping my sister move from Livermore, California to Vienna, Austria.  They were bringing all of her belongings back to Cincinnati, so they made a number of stops at National Parks on the way home.  They were able to stop by 4 parks without paying an entrance fee.  Additionally, the National Park system offers lots of amenities and a wide range of activities, so you won’t have a hard time finding something to do, somewhere to stay, etc.

House Sitting:

Free accommodations!  There are options to house sit for people on extended vacations.  You get place to stay while spending a little time overseeing someone’s home.  This gives you a chance to also see what it feels like to live in the area.  I have heard of a number of retirees try it out as part of scouting a retirement location.  House sitting arrangements are generally at least a week, but can go for a couple months.

Lesser Known Locations:

This is a great option for international beach vacations.  Instead of a Mexican beach vacation, consider Belize or Guatemala. A lot of these alternatives are getting more flights to the locations and resorts are offering steep discounts to get people’s attention.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Do a quick google search to find budget friendly trips and you would get millions of results.  The important thing, though, is finding the ones that work for you.

Enjoy your summer!