8 Ways to Budget for Your Summer Vacation

Honolulu sunset

When it's time to set a budget for the family's finances, the first thing that usually goes is the family's summer vacation. And it's easy to understand why in today's uncertain economic climate. Several small airline carriers folded -- such as Aloha Airlines and ATA -- and many travelers were stranded at their vacation destinations, or found that their trips had been canceled without the guarantee of a refund. In short, the passengers' summer vacations were ruined and they lost thousands of dollars.

Losing thousands of dollars on a canceled family vacation would leave any consumer shell-shocked. But, if you don't want to give up your summer vacation or spend a lot of money follow these eight tips from the the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation (AFSAEF) to have an inexpensive summer vacation:

  1. Set a budget. Consider shorter trips or exploring the tourist spots where you live.
  2. Research, research, research. Check the Internet for lower-priced airfares and hotel accommodations, and read the offers carefully. Search for discount codes online or ask about discounts when booking.
  3. Determine a realistic gas allowance if you're planning a road trip. Industry experts expect gas to exceed $4 per gallon this summer in many areas.
  4. Know the line of credit on your credit cards and daily withdrawal amounts allowed for your debit/ATM cards. Find out if your ATM card is accepted at your destination without any additional fees.
  5. Know the refund policies for your airline hotel, booking site, travel agent, etc. Check your airlines refund policy, if they don't have one then purchase travel insurance. You don't want to end up like many passengers on the now defunct Aloha Airlines that found out their trips were cancelled the day they chose to travel.
  6. If you're going to go on a road trip, get your car tuned up. Check the condition of your vehicle's tires, belts, battery and spark plugs a week or two before hitting the road. Maintenance is less expensive than emergency road service and helps maximize your gas mileage.
  7. Organize your packing.  The "I'll buy it when I get there" philosophy can be an expensive one. Pack a few days in advance in order to avoid paying high prices at the hotel gift shop to replace forgotten items.
  8. Cut back on activities. Don't try to see every tourist attraction while you're on vacation. Try to spend more time relaxing and keep track of how much you're spending on a daily basis.

*Bonus Tip: Take Advantage of Space A travel. Space Available Flight, better known as Space A or military hops, is a unique privilege provided to servicemembers, retirees and their families. If you have the time and flexibility, Space A travel offers incredible discounts.

For more travel tips and discounts, visit Military.com's Discounts Channel.

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