Can't Afford a Big Summer Trip? 3 Ways to Drum Up More Cash Now

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on June 12, 2021

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Itching to get away this summer? Here's how to ramp up your savings to make it happen.

Last summer was a bust for a lot of people on the travel front, as plans got canceled left and right due to the pandemic. But this summer is shaping up to be very different. Now that so many people are vaccinated and many quarantine mandates and restrictions have been lifted, it's easier, logistically speaking, for more travelers to escape.

But when it comes to personal finances, travel may prove tricky for some people. And if your income took a hit during the pandemic, you may not have the funds on hand to cover a big trip.

If you're thinking of racking up debt to pull off a summer getaway, think again. This isn't a wise option, and neither is raiding your emergency fund to tackle your costs. A much better option is to hustle and ramp up your savings over the next couple of months so you have the ability to pay for a fun trip without hurting yourself financially afterward. Here are a few ways to scrounge up more cash -- and pull off a trip in just a few months.

1. Sell items you don't need

When's the last time you really went through your garage or basement and took inventory of its contents? There's no shame in neglecting your storage areas -- we all do it -- but now's the time to go through them because you may find that you have numerous items you could sell. And when you do, you can use the proceeds for a fabulous summer getaway.

2. Cut back on non-essentials

Most of us spend money on things we technically don't need on a regular basis -- and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you really want to take a big trip this summer, then it's time to cut back on those non-essential items and put that money into your savings account instead. Go through your budget and see which line items you can eliminate on a temporary basis. You may decide it's worth not eating takeout for two or three months if that helps make your summer trip possible.

3. Get a second job

Boosting your income is a great way to eke out more cash for a summer trip, and the good news is that you have many options in that regard. If you're comfortable working with people, you can see if a local restaurant needs a server on evenings and weekends or if a local retail shop needs extra hands on deck. Hardware stores also tend to be very busy during the spring, so that may be an option to look at too

If you'd rather take a second job you can do at your own pace and one that doesn't require you to interact with people, see if you can sign up to tutor or teach an instrument virtually (if you have the necessary skills), take on a telemarketing gig, or do web design or content writing from home. Or you can drive for a rideshare or meal delivery company.

4. Bank your tax refund

If you're waiting until the last minute to file your taxes, then you may not see your refund until sometime in June. It usually takes the IRS about three weeks to issue a refund for an electronically filed return, though if you sign up to have your refund land directly in your bank account, you may see it sooner. That refund is money you can use for a summer trip -- provided you don't spend it all first.

If you're eager to take a memorable vacation this summer, you're not alone. But you definitely don't want that trip to end up being a source of financial stress. That's why saving for your getaway ahead of time is really your best bet, and these tips can help you boost your cash reserves to make that trip possible.

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