Affording Your Dream Vacation

Even though spring is upon us, snow is still piling up in
parts of the country. Summer vacation may seem far away, but now is the best
time to start saving. Whether you want to get away to a secluded beach or spend
a week in the heart of the city, the expenses
of a trip add up quickly
. Follow these tips to start saving toward your
dream adventure.

Do Your Research

The Internet makes it easier than ever to compare vacation
costs and plan
the most affordable trip.
If you have a destination in mind, research the
off season and tourist hot spots so you can avoid paying a premium on your

Be flexible, and focus more on an overall experience instead
of a particular destination. For example, you can spend a small fortune on a
rental stay in Malibu, or you can still get the beach experience for half the
cost by staying in a lesser-known location.

If your date is also flexible, check out traveling fares for
different days of the week. Delaying your trip by just one day can often result
in significant savings.

Save on Entertainment and Luxury Spending

One of the best ways to save for a vacation is to cut your
entertainment and ?luxury? spending for a few months. That doesn’t have to mean
forgoing fun, it just means that you stop paying for things you can get for
free. Instead of having a weekly date or trip to the cinema, head to
your local library for free DVDs. If you love to unwind by reading your
favorite magazines, switch to an online subscription to save. Forgo your gym
membership and hit the hiking trails for a free workout. With a bit of creative
thinking, there can be a free or less costly alternative to nearly everything
you spend your entertainment or luxury funds on.

Stop Unnecessary Food Expenses

You know the type ? the precut veggies, the bottled water,
the cafe stop on the way to work and the to-go meal at lunch. You can easily
spend a small fortune on these little conveniences without even realizing it.
To save for vacation, cut your own veggies, buy an aluminum water bottle, brew
your own coffee and pack a brown bag lunch for one month. Once you see how much
you save, you’ll be inspired to keep the change going!