Eight ways to save on your next summer vacation

Vacations can sometimes come with a hefty price tag. Rather than planning on overspending, be proactive and plan ahead. This time around, do your best to enjoy a vacation without depleting your funds or adding debt.

As you begin scheduling your trip, do your research with the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) to make sure that the deals you've found are legitimate.

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a BBB National Partner, provides great tips on how to make vacationing more affordable. Here are eight ways you can better manage your budget when preparing for your next excursion:

Put away those credit cards! Avoid the debt trap by saving up ahead of time for your holidays, and use cash whenever possible.

• Prepare a budget: Planning is important. Make a little room in your budget by allowing for unexpected occurrences and emergencies.


• Be resourceful: Check the State Tourism Board or local Chamber of Commerce website where you will be vacationing for suggestions and links to recreational ideas. Or consider a "staycation," a vacation where you visit nearby attractions but sleep in your own bed at night.

• Timing is everything: If you do plan on traveling outside of your immediate area, aim for the off-season. Prices are usually substantially lower, and you won't have to deal with the crowds. Off-season depends on where you are: summer can be a terrific time to visit a ski resort, where you can get nice rooms and all the non-skiing amenities for a fraction of the cost of a winter trip.

• Short and sweet: You don't have to go on a two-week trip in order to feel refreshed after a vacation. Take a long weekend or two, and maximize your itinerary by planning activities well ahead of time.

• Avoid unnecessary costs: Don't find yourself trapped by additional charges or fees. For example, avoid hotel room phones, which often carry hefty surcharges.

• Pack your own meals: When on the road, avoid gas station convenience stores, which generally have higher prices. Also, check your local visitors' center or websites for special offers or coupons to local restaurants.

• Transport yourself: Choose a destination with lots to see and do, and simply walk from place to place. Also, consider using local bus or transit service rather than driving and parking.

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