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10 Ways to Save on Summer Travel

Feel like you can’t afford your dream vacation? With everyone’s busy lives and the uncertain economy, it’s understandable that planning a vacation may seem too daunting a task. Here are 10 ways to make your vacation planning easier and cheaper.

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1. Let the deal be the inspiration.

This is the best tip we can provide. The trick is to be flexible with your travel plans to get the most mileage from your dollar. Many destinations are fighting over business right now, and you never know who’s going to come out with the next great deal. Plus, being spontaneous about your travel destination can be half the fun of the vacation.

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2. Get a head start on your paperwork and be prepared.

First things first. Even if you don’t have a specific trip in mind, get your passport. Processing times (without extra rush fees) can take a month or more and a new travel deal can be here and gone in as quick as 24 hours. Some travel deals are too good to pass up and the key is to act fast.

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3. Set a realistic monetary goal for your vacation.

You are more likely to take that dream vacation if you set aside your funds ahead of time. Alternatively, you could also set a clear target price range for your trip. Once that goal is set, you’ll feel more comfortable in locating and purchasing your vacation quickly.

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4. Know your travel style, and stick to it.

Would you rather lie on the beach all day or see as many sights as you can? It's best to identify the type of vacation you and your travel companions want up front. Here are 3 types of vacations to consider.

1. Beach destinations

Resorts are bending over backwards to attract tourists to their beaches, so this year you can soak up the sun in any number of places. The Caribbean, Mexico, San Diego, and Hawaii all have outstanding savings and package deals.

2. Big city vacations

Take a bite out of the Big Apple with some amazing New York City sales, or let loose in Las Vegas. This is also true across the pond. Europe is a dream destination for many Americans, and with multiple four-season cities like Paris and Madrid, you can have a great trip any time of year.

3. Outdoor Adventures

Some people think this is for adrenaline junkies alone, but thrill seeking doesn’t always require a big physical commitment or giving up luxury. Try Costa Rica and explore the beautiful cloud rain forest canopies, all while enjoying great accommodations.

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5. Look for all-inclusive packages.

Bundled pricing makes your vacation planning easy. All-inclusive resort vacations are being offered at some of the best prices in years and are perfect for a cross-generational family beach vacation. Everyone can eat, stay and play at an all-inclusive resort with one set price. Plus, most resorts offer a ’kids camp’ so that the parents can enjoy some downtime with a fruity drink and a book by the pool-a rarity on most family vacations.

Check out Travel Ticker's deals on All-Inclusive Packages

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6. Understand seasonal travel trends.

Masses of people attend Carnival in Brazil in February. Travelers flock to Pamplona, Spain, for the Running of the Bulls in July. College kids flood Cancun for Spring Break. These events drive prices up. On the flip side, Paris and other European cities are quiet during August because locals are on summer holiday, so it’s cheap and you’ll have easier access to activities than at busier times of the year.

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7. Leaving on a jet plane – midweek.

You can save hundreds of dollars just by shifting your flights by one day. You’ll find the best fares generally are reserved for midweek travel. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are particularly good, especially for international flights.

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8. Extras.

Be sure to look for and compare extras when making your booking decision. You should ask when you check-in at the front desk about any available upgrades or freebies as they don’t cost hoteliers too much and increase the value of your stay and experience.

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9. Exchange rates make a bigger difference than you think.

The deal might look amazing at first, but think about how much you’ll be spending on food, entertainment, and shopping while you’re traveling. Now, imagine if your dollar only went half as far as it could have somewhere else. Take currency differences into consideration and you’ll really stretch your travel dollars… as much as two or threefold!

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10. Utilize online resources to score the best deals.

Let online travel tools do the hard work for you. During a down economy, travel providers look for channels to maximize their reach to consumers. Currently, they’re using outlets like geo-targeted deal newsletters and sites like

Social media also offer a way to save. From promotional discounts and contest giveaways to the latest in travel deals, it is becoming easier to have other people bring the information to you via Twitter or Facebook. By simply following travel experts like @travel_ticker on Twitter and keeping an eye on popular hashtags (e.g. #TravelTuesday), consumers can let the deals find them.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest