June 23, 2011 | By: Laurie Campbell

A little birdie told me so. Cheap, cheap, cheap summer holidays.

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again. Today’s Internet is a powerful, wonderful tool for money-related problem solving, including finding answers to the pressing question, what can a cash-strapped family do for a fun summer holiday?

Start by thinking cheap and free. Then get your Google in gear. Type in cheap fares, hotels, resorts, and holiday specials for any given location. Check out cheap and free events and activities for any given community. As well, take full advantage of your digital social network. Get the word out on Facebook and other sites that you’re interested in economical holiday options and opportunities.

At the same time, bring your imagination out into the sun. For instance, think locally. What cheap and free adventures might be found in your city, town, and region? Are interesting landscapes and attractions close at hand, waiting to be discovered or for that matter revisited? Just remember, mother nature herself does not charge fees.

If like me you’re a Torontonian, you might remind yourself that Ontario has more lakes than any other region on Earth – a couple of hundred thousand of them in fact, set amid verdant surroundings. Camping and canoeing anyone? A day of swimming can be a delight. A hike in the wilderness can be an adventure. A bon fire alone can make for a great evening. Simple pleasures can make for a summer of joy.

How about pooling resources amongst your circle of family and friends, including social network contacts? Anybody got a cottage? Never mind that, get enough friends and family together and you can rent a cottage for a song. Bring your air mattresses, your tents. Double up on beds and bunks. Being resourceful can be fun. Also, bringing groups together makes for great savings on faraway trips. Google told me so.

Now, if you’re really behind the eight ball money wise this summer, you will be forced to think locally about your holidays. For Torontonians in these circumstances, check out the following:

 • For savings of 50 to 90 per cent on popular events In Toronto, sign up at www.groupon.com/Toronto

 • For great deals on restaurants, spas, events and more, check out www.livingsocial.com

 Now, go ahead and have your day in the sun.


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