Save on Summer Travel: Freebies, Discounts & Deals

GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — We may be heading into the summer of inflation, but that doesn’t mean we have to blow our vacation budget. In this consumer exclusive from 7NEWS, we looked at how families can save on travel, accommodation and just have fun.


Emily Hughes of Greenville County says she takes advantage of three main ways to save money when booking trips:

  • sharing space
  • meals in advance
  • search for free stuff


Hughes goes with his family when booking accommodation to save money.

“Instead of us each booking our own accommodation or our own hotel rooms, we all come in together and do the VRBO rentals and find a house big enough for everyone,” Hughes said.

Be sure to compare prices on VRBO and Airbnb. And if you want to get a 20% discount, use the filters to search for “new listings”.

If you’re booking last minute, try messaging the owner to see if they can offer a discount.

Finally, if the listing is from a property management company, call them directly to avoid the fee.


And don’t rule out deals on hotel rooms either. Susan Cohen, president and CEO of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, says that while online travel sites are good for research, try booking into hotels to get better rates.

“If you call the hotel direct they are able to give you their lowest price. They don’t pay commission to anyone. They’re able to pass those savings on to you,” Cohen said.


Of course, the shared rental house also allows the Hughes to save money by cooking instead of eating out. His big advice: plan meals in advance and shop at the start of the trip so you don’t spend too much.

“It saves at least $500, you know, that’s a minimum,” Hughes said.


Hughes, who will drive to the beach, saves money on gas with a Sam’s Club membership card. You can also enjoy apps like GasBuddyto help you find the cheapest station.


If you need to fly, you can use Google Flights to find out when this flight is the cheapest to book using the date grid or the price graph.

“It will show you how much this flight has fluctuated over the last few months or so. If you’re not ready to book right away, you can click ‘follow prices’ that way at the lowest possible price, then you can book,” said Justin Burr, technology and trends expert at Google. .


But before flying or driving anywhere, Kristina Hernandez with Joke around Greenville ask, why spend so much when there is so much to do in our region?

“Especially with social media, you see these families going to, you know, maybe places that your family can’t afford. Don’t feel like your kids are missing out. At this time of year there are so many free things to do compared to the colder months,” Hernandez said.

There are free wading pools at Fountain Inn on Main Street, Tyger River Park in Moore, Barnet Park in Spartanburg and Unity Park in Greenville.

Additionally, the website shows which bowling allies offer free games, like Greenville’s Spare Time and Spartanburg’s Paradise Lanes. The shoes will cost you though.

There are also summer movie deals starting at $1.50 at Cinemark to free screenings on Premier Cinemas in Easley, Greenwood and Seneca. Joke around Greenville also offers a list of discounted movies in upstate.

And don’t forget all the beautiful hiking places close to Caesar’s Head at Jones Gap and Devil’s Fork.

Sometimes an upfront investment can help you save in the long run, like this $99 annual state park pass. It takes you to all 47 state parks in South Carolina, including the beach.

Hughes said he rented a motorhome through has established a connection with the owner and no longer has to pay any fees online.

“And it also saved us a bit of not having to go through the website,” Hughes said.

About Joan Dow

Check Also

My 9 favorite beaches to discover in the Turks and Caicos Islands

Back when I started covering the islands as editor of the now defunct newspaper Travel …