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Planning a Vacation on a Budget

Planning a getaway? Whether you are planning a family vacation, romantic getaway or girls' weekend, there is going to be some kind of planning involved in your trip. While it may seem as easy as just picking a destination and booking travel and lodging, it is actually more complex and involved than that. To ensure you have the best vacation but still save money, there are some things to keep in mind and tips you can follow to plan the best vacation possible.

Destination. While you may have the destination you'd like to travel to pinpointed and are ready to go, you may be surprised to know that there is actually a better way to go about planning your trip. Instead of deciding on an exact location and booking it, it's actually more budget-friendly to have a region in mind, but be open to destination cities within that city. For instance, it is often cheaper to fly into a smaller airport neighboring your destination city; similarly it can also be less expensive to stay a little further away.

Travel sites. You probably already know about websites such as Expedia where you can find great travel deals, but did you know there are websites on which you can compare all of those travel sites individually? Websites like Kayak.com allow you to type in your destination and dates and it then returns results from various different sites. You can then compare rates and get the best rate.

"Secret" deals. If you want to take a chance, many travel sites are now offering mystery deals. The way this works is that you choose the star amount you'd like (i.e., 2 star, 3 star, etc.) and book the mystery deal for a very discounted rate; however, you have to book it blindly since it is a mystery.

Road trips. You may want to weigh the pros and cons of driving versus flying. Factor in gas costs and how long it will take to get there and compare against plane tickets. If you're willing to drive then that may be a better choice.

Clearance clothes. Vacation essentials such as swimsuits, sandals and coverups can be had at a steal if you buy them on off-season or keep on top of website's clearance sales. Get on the newsletter list to get advance news of sales.

Food. A great way to save money on eating out is to find lodging with an in-room kitchenette. Buy your own groceries, cook a nice meal and enjoy good company without paying sky-high dinner tabs.

What other travel tips do you have to save money on a vacation?

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