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How to Take a Cheap Vacation

Kim Powell | Staff Writer | 03/23/2011

With summer just around the corner people are itching to get away from the cold weather and hit the beach. The only thing that is stopping them? Money.
The best way to start saving up for a vacation is to put away a minimum of $10 from every paycheck. Over time, this will add up. Whether you know you’ll be going on a vacation soon, or suddenly have the urge to buy your dream car, saving a little each month can go a long way.

Let’s face it, money’s a little tight for everyone nowadays and spending money can be as painful as frostbite in May. Luckily, there are ways to take a vacation on a budget. Whether you want to go somewhere warm, or visit family in a different state; there is hope on money-saving trips.
Planning far in advance can save you hundreds of dollars, especially if you’re booking a flight. Airlines tend to rack up flight prices as the big day gets closer. The best time to purchase airplane tickets is about two months ahead of time, when plenty of seats are available and the tickets are affordable.
The next step — get a group. I’m sure you’re not the only one who needs a break from the stress of school and the cold of Minnesota. Gather a group of friends and split the costs. This will drastically cut hotel and gas costs.
Although road trips always seem like a good idea at the time — blasting music, car karaoke with friends, driving with the windows down, recreating the stereotypical movie scene, and maybe even some great memories — be sure to have a plan of action. If you plan to drive the whole night through, have someone stay awake with the driver. Nothing says bad vacation like making headline news.

No one likes the gas prices these days; be generous and split everything. That could mean only five dollars each on every fill-up. Pack a picnic in the car with a lot of water and snacks, instead of spending double the price on gas station munchies.

If you’re driving or flying, there’s one burden you almost can’t miss — hotels. Hotels can be pretty pricey, especially if you want to stay by the beach. Let’s be honest, you get what you pay for. If you want to spend less than $100 a night, it’s not going to be on the beach or have five-star qualities. If you splurge and want to stay on the beach, look for the specials.

Do your research. Often times, hotels and beach resorts offer deals that make the plane tickets seem like not such a bad thing after all. There are a lot of resorts that will help you book your flight and room for a week, divide that by the number of people in your group, and it is likely it will be within $100 each.
Planning a vacation is a great way to escape from school, work, cold weather, and even annoying roommates. If you plan ahead of time and gather a group of friends, you can not only have a great time, but save yourself a trip to the loan office.