How to travel this summer without breaking the bank

Hoping to travel this summer on a budget? With a few helpful tips, price increases don't have to derail your vacation plans.

If you plan to travel this summer, you might be shocked at how expensive ticket prices have become. Every aspect of traveling has dramatically increased: airfare, hotels, rental cars, and of course, gas. 

But don’t think just because the cost of vacationing has gone up, you cannot still save money or be on the lookout for great deals.

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Follow these tips on how to save money on travel so you don’t break the bank this summer. 

1. Shorter could be smarter. You may feel compelled to use all of your time off, but you might make the most of your vacation by scaling back a few days. Instead of going for seven days, go for five. Instead of 14 days, go for ten days. This way, you can travel, stay and experience your destination in a manner that keeps you financially comfortable. 

2. Membership has its privileges. You get VIP treatment when you are a member of loyalty programs, so sign up for members-only travel websites and follow travel sites on social media. VIP treatment can include room upgrades, concert tickets, or discounted spa services. Look out for deals offered by members-only sites, as this is the time when brand loyalty will pay off. Also, many hotels and airlines will tweet out deals for the weekend or to specific destinations, so following your preferred hotel or airline on social media can pay off.

3. Timing is essential. It will always be cheaper to book a hotel in the middle of the week than on the weekend, or, for example, go to St. Barts in August instead of December (when everyone goes). Think about traveling at 6 am instead of 2 pm; airfare will be cheaper. Also, research the “shoulder season” for your desired destination. Shoulder season is the time between a destination’s high and low seasons. This could be a perfect time to go; prices of hotels have dropped, the weather is still good, and the crowds have decreased. If you can be flexible about when you travel, these adjustments alone can save you a great deal of money. 

4. Use plastic when you travel. Although it may seem counterintuitive, this is the one time you may want to use plastic for everything. Using a credit card offers travelers protection; if there is a problem with a merchant, most credit cards will intercede on your behalf. Also, when you return, you will have a complete record of where you went, how much you paid, and every vendor used on your trip in case of mishaps. There is also an advantage to a credit card designed for those who like to travel. Many travel cards offer a variety of perks to those who use them: earning miles as you go, baggage waivers on checked bags, and earning miles for money spent on purchases.  Those perks can definitely make travel easier and more budget-friendly.

5. Get into going all-inclusive. There is nothing like traveling and knowing every aspect of your vacation has been taken care of. The all-inclusive deal has gotten an upgrade over the years; many now include spa treatments, chefs, and even high-end villas and penthouses. It is a great way to enjoy a fabulous trip for one package deal.

6. Build your budget first! This is the most crucial part: Be honest about your budget. Oftentimes, people decide on the place and then overspend to get there. Instead, be honest about how much you have to spend, and build a vacation that fits that budget. 

With these tips and a little planning, you can ensure your vacation does not break the bank. 

Jennifer Streaks

Jennifer Streaks is Senior Personal Finance Reporter and spokesperson at Business Insider and a financial contributor at The Grio. A nationally recognized expert on money and affordable lifestyle living, Jennifer is an established financial columnist who has been featured on CNBC, Forbes, ABC, MSNBC, CBS, and more.

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