With summer fast approaching, people are making plans for their vacations. It’s a time of year that everyone looks forward to, whether you are planning or attending a party, or taking the family on a vacation, everyone wants to save money. First let me begin with the timeframe of your vacation; when do you want to take your trip (?). I bring this up because if you can be flexible before making any type of reservations, this will definitely save you a little money. However, if flying is on your agenda for this vacation… I recommend at least 30 days out for a decent price, and always look at flexible dates; this usually sways my mind a bit, as it is usually worth it. Don’t forget to figure in your costs for baggage, so many times people don’t figure it in to their budget, leaving them short at the end of the trip. Southwest airlines of course cover this cost, but seating is left open, as there are no pre-assigned seats. I always tell everyone to check out www.seatguru.com to give you an idea of the aircraft you may be scheduled on.

If traveling by car, figure out your mileage ahead of time, and then look on-line at your planned route, in order to locate gas stations, this way you will know if there are other services offered, in the event of an emergency or whatnot. But don’t forget to look at www.gasbuddy.com to get your lowest prices. You can download apps before you leave on your trip. If you plan on traveling with a large group and are short on room, you can rent campers on wheels, saving yourself on hotel rooms. There is www.cruiseamerica.com which offers locations throughout the U.S. or www.escapecampervans.com , these are the only two I am familiar with so it’s worth checking prices before making final decisions.

Hotels are offering competitive prices these days, so do your homework first. Again… flexibility is everything, especially during summer, as the rates are usually at a premium. There are many websites you can use to compare, such as; www.tripadvisor.com , www.orbitz.com and all of the others which you probably already know. For retired folks traveling, don’t forget to check with http://travel.aarp.org/articles-tips/articles/info-01-2015/affordable-vacation-ideas-photo.html#slide1 . I also am an AAA member, and many times you can reduce rates at several hotels, along with free maps, triptiks, and even coupon books… depending on your destination. Personally, I always need to know where construction zones are, this way I can avoid them during certain hours of my travel.

Last but not least, if you really want to save big this year, consider staying close to home or doing a vacation rental; less gas, planned meals in, among many other things to do. You might rent something on a small lake which offers boating, fishing and swimming. This is a bit easier on a budget and doesn’t require a whole lot of planning. Vacations are something that everyone enjoys, but don’t always get to take every year, as they cost money (beyond normal budgets), and not all can afford to but probably need to. It’s good to get refreshed from the everyday routines, as it allows us to recharge our batteries and relax. They are also about making memories for years to come. Whatever you plan this year, make the most of it and enjoy your time together.

Make your week count.