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article-7-vacation-tipsEveryone needs a vacation — and there’s no time like the present to think about your next trip. If you’re looking to plan a getaway, but are worried about the expense of a trip, take heart: You can travel on a budget.
 
Check out these seven tips for saving money on your next vacation.

  1. Fly during off-peak times to score off-peak prices. Consider traveling during less popular periods to save on airfare and accommodations — while keeping your budget happy. For example, avoid flying during holidays or busy periods like Spring Break. Instead, consider taking off in January or February after the holiday buzz has worn off and before school breaks begin. Or, if you’re traveling to Europe, consider planning your trip before or after the July and August rush. Feeling spontaneous? Plan your trip at the last minute based on the best deals out there.
     
    Tip: Be aware of any travel alertsicon_new_blue-8.gif or medical shots you may need before you book a flight.
     
  2. Take the road less traveled. Some destinations become hotspots during certain times, and the price may reflect that. Instead of going to popular, well-known locations like Mexico, Miami or Hawaii, consider something a bit off the beaten path. Think Colombia, Nicaragua or Puerto Rico. If your heart is set on those popular destinations, consider going during less popular times.
     
    Tip: Be flexible with your location and plan your trip based on the best deals.
     
    Related: Quiz: What type of traveler are you?
     
  3. Timing is everything. We all know that timing is everything. This also applies to your flight. When you book a flight, including your departure and return dates, may significantly impact your ticket price.
     

    • When to book: In general, it’s best to book a flight on Tuesdayicon_new_blue-8.gif or any time early in the week. It’s also a good idea to book your trips as far out as possible, and to research various flights and schedules for the best deals.
       
    • When to fly: Consider flying at off-peak times, such as early morning or on a red-eye flight, to score some serious savings. Also keep in mind that it’s often best to depart on a Saturday or on a weekday and return on a weekday, if possible. Typically, Fridays and Sundays can be busy times to fly, so check alternative days for the best price.

     
    Tip: To save time, consider using the travel app Hoppericon_new_blue-8.gif or search engine Kayakicon_new_blue-8.gif to help find the best deals.

  4. Use a private browser. If you’re looking for the best price, be sure to use a private browsericon_new_blue-8.gif when searching and booking your flights. One thing you should know is that your browser will store cookies about your flight searches. While cookies may sound like a tasty treat, these sort of cookies will let travel sites know what flights you’ve been looking at and may result in price hikes.
     
    When searching for flights, either use a private browser, or clear your browser history after each time you look at flights. This will ensure that those devious cookies don’t let travel sites know what you’ve been looking at.
     
    Tip: Google Chrome®* lets you browse in private using their incognito modeicon_new_blue-8.gif.
     
  5. Save on accommodations. Nothing says going off on holiday like flopping onto a clean, soft hotel bed. But finding one near the area you want to be in at a decent price may be difficult. To save on accommodations, consider using a service like Airbnbicon_new_blue-8.gif. This can land you in someone’s well-furnished guest room or have you take over their whole space for a fraction of the price of a hotel.
     
    If you’re low maintenance and like socializing more than you like sleeping, you might consider a hostel. Some even have private rooms, where only the kitchen and bathroom are shared.
     
    In addition, consider a home swap. You can use sites like HomeExchange.com to start viewing potential accommodations. If you do opt for a hotel, see if your credit card or AAA cardicon_new_blue-8.gif can score you any discounts.
     
    Tip: Be sure to read user reviews of your accommodations, so you’re not in for any unwanted surprises.
     
    Related: 5 tips for saving for your first major vacation
     
  6. Consider a package deal. Looking to save time and money? Consider booking a cheap vacation package that includes your flight, hotel, some attractions and more. If you’re between 18 and 35, Contikiicon_new_blue-8.gif is a great option to handle all of your travel needs, so you can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience on a budget. Other options for booking cheap vacation packages include Top Deckicon_new_blue-8.gif, G Adventuresicon_new_blue-8.gif, Travelzooicon_new_blue-8.gif and Expediaicon_new_blue-8.gif. Sign up for their newsletters to get the best deals straight to your inbox, and follow them on social media for the latest updates.
     
    Tip: Read the fine print, as some package deals may have additional fees and/or restrictions.
     
  7. Maximize your rewards. Do you have airline miles to burn? Now is the time to use them! If you have enough miles to cover a flight, you can greatly reduce the costs associated with traveling. Some miles may even be transferable to another airline, so be sure to do your research on redemption.
     
    Consider booking your travel on a credit card to boost your rewards. Just be sure to always pay it off so that you accrue points, not interest.
     
    Tip: Make sure there are no blackout dates, and watch out for any expiration on your miles.
     
    Need help building your travel budget? Try these seven tips to save up for your next big getaway.
     
    ®* Registered trademark of Google Inc.




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