How to Vacation Like It’s 1975

Woman With Legs Hanging OutEveryone's got a tight budget this summer. But don't limit yourself to a dull "staycation."

Kick it old-school and rediscover the classic, low-cost vacations of yore: Long car rides, license plate games, and cheap motels with pools. Get your flip-flops on!

Say 'Wheeeee'
Before resorts and Costa Rican eco-adventures, most Americans found summer fun at state fairs and amusement parks. Tickets aren't cheap—but discounts abound. (Six Flags drops adult ticket prices by $20 each if you buy online.)

Drive around
Pack up the car for road trip to a national wonder like the Grand Canyon or Mount Rushmore. While four plane tickets could cost about $1,300, gas for a 3,000-mile round trip, even at current prices, comes to about $750.*

Hotel, shmotel.
Back in the day, no one needed a fancy hotel if you could stay with family or friends. They called it …visiting. Or pick a low-key motel or campground. Clean? Comfortable? Pool or lake out front? There's no greater joy than hoovering your morning Cocoa Puffs followed by a quick dip.

*Flight prices based on r/t from Chicago to Arizona versus regional gas prices.

Channel childhood. What’s your favorite low-cost, high-fun vacation idea?