In a tough economy, people’s travel plans often suffer. Luckily, despite the waddling economy, folks can still take advantage of travel deals to enjoy fabulous vacations at a fraction of the cost. If you want to travel on the cheap but you’re concerned about financing a vacation, you can still make things happen with some careful planning. Simply get creative and find some great ways to save on your vacation costs!

First things first – decide on the necessary factors of your vacation. Make a list of your prerequisites – such as land or sea, domestic or international, luxury-ish or roughing it. Once you’ve determined your travel preferences, you can start planning a great vacation on the cheap. Finding travel deals might even be easier than you think. In fact, many hotels are discounting rooms way lower than ever before in hopes of luring in some would-be travelers. You can also take advantage of a number of deals available through memberships like AAA and the Entertainment Book.

  1. Go on vacation during off-peak times. If you can still have decent weather, why pay top dollar for prime time?
  2. Use a credit card with air miles or hotel stay rewards. If you spend all year long earning air miles or hotel dollars, you can offset your vacation costs with the rewards you reap from your credit card.
  3. Get a copy of the money-saving Entertainment Book. In case you aren’t familiar, the Entertainment Book is a comprehensive volume of coupons, deals, and discounts at countless locations around the United States. You can buy a book for your local area or even get an Entertainment book for your destination, such as Buffalo, NY for a Niagara Falls vacation or Orlando, FL for a Disney vacation.
  4. Arrange your trip so you can make your own meals sometimes. If you stay in an efficiency or even a tent with a fire ring, you can cook some of your own meals to offset the cost of your vacation.

  5. Share expenses with a friend or group of friends. If you plan a road trip where you can carpool or all stay together in the same accommodations, you and your friends can split the costs as many ways.
  6. Take a more rugged trip, like camping, backpacking, or even a road trip. Save money by staying at hostels, cheap motels, or even under the stars in a tent. If you are set on a vacation with modern conveniences, look for a vacation house that you can rent from the owner.
  7. Become a member of AAA. Countless hotels and travel related companies offer discounts only to AAA members. The membership costs less than $50 a year and could save you lots more.
  8. If you’re seeking a tropical vacation, consider a cruise or an all-inclusive deal. A cruise offers the opportunity to see several wonderful destinations on the same vacation – totally more bang for your buck. Also, Mexico is known for having affordable prices and great vacation packages.
  9. Look for free and cheap things to do in addition to your planned itinerary. If you plan to do a more expensive activity, fill some of your other free time with lesser expensive or even free events. Also, seek out discount coupons and vouchers.
  10. Be willing to get bumped from a flight for airfare vouchers. Also, consider booking your flights in advance for better pricing if you notice costs beginning to climb.

While it won’t actually save you money, you can also begin saving for vacation before you even know you’re planning one. If you have a bit of a reserve of cash set aside for a trip, you won’t feel as guilty doing the things you really want to do on vacation!

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