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11 Rules for a Cheap Summer Vacation: Plan a memorable and relaxing week by taking advantage of this year’s deals and steals . After years of staycations and frugal road trips, Americans appear ready to spend a little more on summer fun—as long as they’re still landing good deals. If you’re still looking for the perfect summer getaway, here are 11 strategies to consider:
- Collaborate with friends. Rent a large beach house with a group of friends to split the cost. Since beach (and lake) houses can often accommodate multiple families, this method often reduces the cost significantly.
- Pay for the trip in advance. Saving up for a vacation ahead of time is the best way to make sure it doesn’t end up on a credit card.
- Think P-I-G-S. The term stands for Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain, all of which are being dragged down by national debt. The upside for American tourists is that fewer business travelers means more opportunities for visitors to score cut-rate deals on hotels and packages.
- Escape inland. Popular coastal cities are charging the most right now. Americans looking to avoid crowds and get better deals should look to cities more often overlooked such as Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Denver. Look for hotels around big convention centers, which are usually empty during the summer and desperate for guests. Plus, they usually feature pools, gyms, and big breakfasts.
- Find a promo. Since resorts and hotels know Americans are still hesitant to part with their cash, they’re sweetening deals with discounts and deals. Check for AAA, AARP, senior rates and military discounts.
- Don’t forget about cruises. Cruises help travelers to pay for meals and lodging together. They also give passengers the freedom to be more active and take advantage of the many programs or be more relaxed.
- Wait to upgrade. Booking the lowest-price room or vehicle and then upgrading on the spot can lead to better deals. It is not a guarantee, but something to consider.
- Cash in on rewards. If you’re due for a payout from your credit card issuer in the form of cash back, gift cards, or airline miles, that payout can be used to fund your summer vacation.
- Bring your own everything. Packing your own snacks, water bottles, and even a bike can reduce daily expenses on the road. Anyone traveling by air, however, will want to adopt the opposite strategy, since many airlines now charge to check bags.
- Don’t pay through the nozzle. Getting gas in the morning when gas is cooler and more dense, earning gas savings through a grocery loyalty card, and driving at steady speeds are a few ways to maximize your gas mileage.