6 ways to save on your summer staycation.

Jul 15, 2017

Given the west coast’s record-setting amount of grey and rain last year, jetting away this summer to sunnier skies is an appealing prospect. Unfortunately, with the average cost for a domestic flight hovering at over $220 - plus the cost of a hotel, eating out, and renting a car - flying the family to a destination can add up quickly.

Here are a few suggestions for an enjoyable local vacation, or “staycation,” with some money-saving tips to keep in mind along the way.

Get in-the-know about local events.

Sure, we’re all familiar Bumbershoot and Seafair, but have you heard of Tacoma’s Art on the Ave or Marysville’s Strawberry Festival? The Northwest is ripe with events and festivals during the summer months. These happenings are a great excuse to check out new areas, plus they’re often free to attend and can be a good opportunity to educate your kids about a new culture or geography. Check with your local tourist information office or state tourism alliance group for happenings in your area.

Put together a bucket list.

Most of us have probably spent more time exploring sites in areas where we don’t live than discovering local sites. Consider trying all 10 of the best hikes in the Pacific Northwest, or host a neighborhood block party or potluck. Whatever’s on your list, just be sure to have a mix of rainy and sunny-day activities to use during those temperamental Pacific Northwest summers.

If your bucket list includes dining out, then we may be able to help save you money! Our Green Checking account includes discounts and coupons for a variety of local and national dining. Savings can be found and managed online or via app and feature fan favorites like Wingstop, Menchies, Taco Del Mar, Ben & Jerrys, and more.

One Green Checking user reported, “I recently made a trip out to the Olympic Peninsula. While having dinner at the Yacht Club Broiler in Silverdale, I decided to see if we could save any money with Green Checking. Sure enough - there was a 25% coupon! (Excluding alcohol, tip & taxes.) I showed the discount on my phone to the server and we ended up saving over $25!”

Photo of girls in front of the space needle

Go geocaching.

Over the past ten years, geocaching has become an increasingly popular game for outdoor-loving, problem-solving enthusiasts. Not fluent in REI lingo or technology? Not to worry – geocaching is a family-friendly way to get all ages outdoors for some fresh air and exercise, regardless of your physical fitness or level of comfortability with the latest gadgets.

Geocaching is essentially modern-day treasure hunting but instead of a paper map, treasure hunters, or geocachers, use a GPS receiver, a set of coordinates and sometimes a few clues. “Caches,” or treasures, are hidden all over the state by other geocachers. Caches can be trinkets, photos or just a logbook of past hunters that have located the cache.

Geocaching “maps,” or cache coordinates, are available online, usually at no cost for geocachers to use. Users can choose from a variety of quests ranging in location and degree of difficulty. Simply find the level you want, note the coordinates, then head outdoors and use your GPS receiver and/or a paper map to find the cache! Visit Geocaching.com to find out more and get started.

Use free museum days.

Taking a trip to the local museum is a good (and non-weather dependent!) method to teach your kids about local history, events, arts or culture. But did you know that many major museums in Seattle and Portland offer free entry to the public on specific days?

Many museums, including the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) or Portland Children’s Museum, feature free entry on certain days of the month. Other museums limit their entry to certain hours or varying days of the week. For a list of museums that take part and applicable days and times, visit FreeMuseumDay.org.

Knock out the “top 10.”

Need a little inspiration for your bucket list? Travel site TripAdvisor.com is often considered a go-to source for all things travel related. For each major city, the site ranks the top “Things to Do” based on traveler reviews and feedback. Make a plan to visit the top Things to Do in Seattle.

Green Checking could help you save while you’re out and about with discounts on admissions to the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, Pacific Science Center, or Seattle Storm games. Many major theatre chains, like Regal Cinemas, offer discounts for pre-purchased tickets, which can be redeemed for a show later.

One Green Checking user explains, “As a single parent, I have to budget and look for ways to save. We always used to go to the matinee show because viewings that started before noon are a lot cheaper. But now we can buy movie tickets for $5.99 and go at ANY time! I can’t remember the last time we went to a movie theatre on a Saturday night.”

Plan ahead.

As with most things in life, a little preparation can go a long way. Meals, activities and accommodations are usually more expensive when thrown together last minute. By coming up with a list of activities ahead of time, you’ll be ready when boredom (or the rain) strikes.

Another benefit of planning activities or events out ahead of time? More time to deal hunt! If the concept of clipping coupons makes you cringe, then you’re in luck – there are some great online tools to help you save big. Consider checking out sites like GroupOn for discounts on activities, or GreaterSeattleOnTheCheap.com for information about free or discounted events nearby.

If your planning requires an extra set of wheels, Green Checking could help you save money there as well. Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National are included in Green Checking’s discount benefits. One saver even found a way to save in the midst of wedding planning.

“My daughter is having a destination wedding and we needed to rent a car. I booked a car for $18 a day through my Green Checking benefits! I compared that with booking online directly with the rental agency – they were charging $47 a day. We saved $87 on a three-day car rental!”

With a little planning and research, your summer staycation can be more relaxing, fun AND wallet friendly than a destination getaway.

Green Checking requires $100 to open and includes a $6 per month maintenance fee. Some benefits require registration and activation, but all are available at no extra cost to Washington Federal Green Checking account owners. For details and disclosures about Green Checking benefits, visit our Secure Checking Benefits webpage.