Deal Finder: Enjoy Summer Travel on a Budget


By LaTINA EMERSON, The Weekly Deal Finder

Between school, work and household duties, it’s been a hectic year for people of all ages. A short getaway to the beach, a new city or tourist attraction helps many people to relax, unwind and recharge.

It’s possible to have a fun, memorable summer vacation with family and friends without overspending or going into debt. Here are some tips to enjoy summer travel on a budget:

Establish a budget

It’s important to determine how much you can afford to spend on the getaway, particularly for families with children. Consider the costs of airfare, hotel rooms, gas (if driving to the destination), rental cars, food and admission prices for different activities. This may influence where you decide to travel and the length of the trip.

Book your getaway soon

Book your airline or railroad tickets and accommodations as soon as possible. Prices will rise the closer you get to your travel date. If flying to your destination, compare prices by airline and book your ticket at least three weeks before the trip to get the best prices. While many choose to book hotels and rental cars online, some experts have told Good Morning America that calling hotels, for instance, and asking about their base rate can help to find deals.

To save on air travel, consider booking economy seats or only bringing carry-on luggage to eliminate extra baggage fees, if you’re able to fit everything you need into a small bag.

Find special offers and discounts

Use memberships, such as AAA and AARP, and credit card perks to your advantage. Membership programs provide special offers on hotels, rental cars, air travel, restaurants, tickets to entertainment venues, tourist attractions and sporting events, and more.

Good Morning America also recommends using apps, such as Google Flights and Hopper, to find plane tickets and track when flight prices drop. Hopper also helps to identify deals on hotels and rental cars.

Hit the road

Airplane tickets aren’t cheap and they get more expensive closer to your travel date. If you’re tight on funds or traveling with a group, consider hitting the road and driving to your destination.

Before leaving home, make sure your vehicle is ready for a road trip. Perform important maintenance, such as checking your car’s battery, inspecting belts and hoses, topping off fluids and replacing filters, verifying that lights and electrical equipment are working, checking the brakes and inspecting tires, according to Allstate.

Consider all-inclusive deals and vacation home rentals

All-inclusive deals can help you get the most for your money. These deals often include costs for hotel stay, food, activities and more. Home rentals, such as through Airbnb and VRBO, can offer families space for children to play, amenities such as a pool and a kitchen that allows travelers to cook meals and reduce their overall food expenditures.

Take a day trip or stay close to home

Particularly for large families on a budget, consider taking a day trip to nearby sights and attractions or staying close to home and enjoying excursions to pools, playgrounds, parks and nature centers. Museums, libraries and movie theaters are also great options on hot or rainy days.

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