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5 Tips for Saving Money on Your Summer Trip

family on the beach.

Summer here and with warm weather, cookouts and baseball comes another summer pastime: taking a trip. Taking a vacation can be stressful on the wallet—the last thing you want to do is worry about money while you’re enjoying time away with your family or friends.

Here are some quick tips to help when planning that summer getaway:

Visit Travel Sites and Download Apps

Whether you’re researching flights, accommodations, car rentals or the best restaurants in town, websites and apps can come in handy. The most popular travel sites and apps, according to USA Today, include Southwest, Starwood Hotels, Airbnb, Expedia, Uber, and Amtrak. With these apps, you can make reservations for flights, hotels, car rentals and more. At the same time, they'll find you the best deals or provide a special discount just for using them.

Avoid the “Extra” Costs of Flying

If you save money on your flight, you’re already ahead. But be sure to look out for unexpected costs, such as fees for luggage and carry-on items—especially if you’re traveling with your family. Pack only the essentials and combine suitcase contents to cut down on your number of bags.

Pack your own snacks, such as trail mix or beef jerky, so you don’t have to buy expensive airport food. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money at your destination? And don’t forget to bring your own portable DVD player or tablet to avoid in-flight entertainment fees. Also, carrying some travel games or a book can help pass the time on long flights.

Book Early and Be Flexible

When you’re looking into flights and accommodations, it pays to book as early as possible—this gives you time to compare your options and take advantage of special vacation packages. While last-minute travel deals are always a possibility, keep in mind that prices for popular destinations can be higher closer to the date you want to travel.

Plus consider when you want to leave. Flight prices are higher on the weekends and during peak travel seasons. You may find lower prices starting in mid-August when families are returning home from summer vacations and children are heading back to school.

Homeshare and Save on Living Costs

Services like Airbnb and homesharing are popular options for finding local condos and houses to forego expensive hotels. Most homeshare accommodations have kitchens, so you can prepare your own meals and then splurge at the restaurants you really want to try. You can visit a farmer’s market or grocery store for ingredients, experiencing the local tastes and saving money at the same time. And with built-in laundry facilities, you won’t need to pack as many clothes, saving on those baggage fees.

Try Something New, Close to Home

If you want to save money, you have the option of a “staycation.” Adopt a “one tank of gas” mentality and search for exciting things to do that don’t require extensive travel times. Explore local attractions like historical sites, zoos and museums. Small towns also offer interesting places worth visiting.

Taking a trip can be quite a financial adventure. Keep these tips in mind and when you get home, you’ll be thankful that you put in the extra effort to save some money, which will make that trip all the more memorable.

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