10 Ways to Save Big on Your Summer Travels

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Awesome Tips   Let's Save Some Dough  

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Summer vacation is supposed to be about soaking in the sun, taking in new sights and making memories. But it seems like all of the luxuries of summer travel come with a hefty price tag, especially if you’re traveling as a family. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a summer vacation (or multiple vacations) that your family will never forget. These 10 simple travel ideas will help you head into fall with plenty of new memories and some money left in the bank.

#1. Hit the Road

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Buying four or five plane tickets at one time may seem like a blow to your checkbook, but you don’t have to cancel your summer adventures because airfares are too high. Hop in the car and hit the road to a summer destination that’s within reach but will feel light-years away. To keep yourself on a budget, find a destination that’s only one full tank of gas away (also called a “one-tank trip”). This will help you budget your travel spending, and you won’t have to spend days of vacation time in the car.

#2. Try a Vacation Rental

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Cut your accommodation costs significantly by renting directly from a homeowner. Not only will the nightly rate be significantly lower, you’ll also get the key to a full house, apartment or condo. These types of accommodations often include a full kitchen and plenty of sleeping space to save you big bucks on dining out or that additional hotel room for the kids.

 #3. Eat a Big Lunch

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There’s no doubt you’ll want to sample some local cuisine on your summer vacation, but that doesn’t mean going out to dinner is the only option. Lunch prices tend to be 30 percent cheaper than dinner prices for the exact same entree. You’re also much less likely to buy expensive cocktails and wine at lunchtime, which can cut the overall price of your bill drastically.

#4. Take a Group Vacation

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Not only can a multi-family vacation be more fun for the kids as well as the adults, it’s a great way to save big bucks by renting an apartment, condo or house together. Take turns preparing meals and watching the kids, and you may actually get to enjoy a romantic dinner with your husband or wife this family vacation.

#5. Prepare For Flight

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Little things can add up quickly when you’re flying. Bring plenty of snacks and entertainment options (magazines, books, games, etc.) for the whole family, so you’re not stuck buying them at the airport for outrageous prices. If you’re traveling with kids, they’re allowed one personal item and carry-on item in addition to yours, so maximize the amount you can bring on-board to save on those pesky new checked-baggage fees.

 #6. Tour Your Town

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Instead of planning one big, expensive vacation this summer, take a variety of smaller vacations close to home. Head to a local amusement park for the day or pack the tents and go camping at a nearby state park or campground. Summer is the perfect time to visit state or county fairs or pick berries at a local farm.

#7. Be Flexible

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It’s easy to get hooked on a specific summer vacation destination, but if you’re flexible with your dates as well as your destination, you can snag better deals than if you’re dead-set on a time and place. Fridays and Sundays are known as the most expensive days to fly, while Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Saturdays are the cheapest. Hotel rates also tend to be lower on weekdays and during non-holiday weeks.

 #8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

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Never be afraid to ask for discounts. If you’ll be staying multiple nights at the same hotel, ask if they’ll give you a better rate for your longer stay. It also doesn’t hurt to enroll in a chain hotel’s reward system (most are free) to earn points toward a free hotel stay or even airfare. And don’t be afraid to show your AAA card to every hotel you visit in Canada, the United States and a variety of other countries. AAA members receive discounts at over 160,000 hotels around the world.

 #9. Visit Friends or Family

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Do you have friends that live in Florida? Or family members in the mountains? There’s no better time to visit friends or family than summertime, and it’s likely they’d love to spice up their summer a bit too. Be sure to have flexible plans if you’ll be staying at someone else’s house, because you want to make sure your vacation is convenient for them as well.

#10. Do a Pet-Sitting Swap

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Paying a boarding house or pet sitter to watch your pets while you’re away can add up as quickly as your plane tickets and accommodations. Arrange a pet-sitting swap with a neighbor or friend, so they’ll watch your pet while you’re away, and you’ll watch theirs when they go on vacation. Not only will this save you big money on daily boarding fees,  you’ll be able to travel with the confidence that your pets are in good hands.

 

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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