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!