Tuesday, May 15, 2012

4 Tips for Budget Travel this Summer

Lake vacation rentals like this one in Maine
are affordable, fun and a great place to make
family memories.

Stay Off the Beach. When taking a seaside vacation, stay in a vacation rental a few blocks away from the beach rather than right on the beach. You'll still be close enough to walk and catch the ambiance of a beachside community without the higher prices. If being just steps from the ocean is a must, but don't want to pay high season prices, then travel after Labor Day, if possible. The weather will be just about the same as the last week of August, but you'll save as much as 50%, maybe even more, compared to August or July.

Drive Smart. If you're driving to your vacation rental, go the speed limit and save as much as 25% on your fuel costs. Avoid fast starts and accelerate gradually. Driving defensively not only keeps you from an accident, it will save gas over the course of your trip. Be sure to pack light as well. The more weight in the car, the more gas you'll burn. And if you're luggage spills up onto the roof, you might notice a 5% decrease in your fuel efficiency. Vacation rentals have washers and dryers, so keep extra clothes and gear to a minimum. If you don't already have it, get roadside assistance from a motor club, especially if you're traveling alone or with small children.

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, lake rental
Theme Parks. Research the theme parks you'll be visiting and find out what kind of discounts you can take advantage of. Some offer seasonal specials on year-round passes that are sometimes discounted to as low as a single day rate. Avoid staying in the theme park lodgings. You're certain to pay more for less space and fewer options. With vacation rentals, you can often be quite close to the theme part, yet have your own kitchen, plenty of space, and lots of private amenities such as game rooms, pools and hot tubs. Plus, they're almost always cheaper than hotels when traveling with a group of more than two.

Buy Your Plane Tickets as Soon as Possible. Airfare gets more expensive the closer you get to your travel dates. Book as far in advance as possible. Air travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays usually costs less, and connecting flights are cheaper than non-stop flights. Packing light for air travel is also recommended, what with most airlines charging for extra luggage now.