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Plan to be frugal on your vacation this summer

Spring break is over, and now we're staring down the barrel of the end of another school year – which means it's time to plan your summer vacation.

The economy seems to be picking up, and this means more people will likely travel than in the past few summers. But taking a great vacation doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money to travel to some exotic location – and not going to that exotic location doesn't mean you can't have a great time.

Here are some suggestions to help you take a frugal vacation – you'll enjoy yourself even more, knowing you're not breaking the bank.

• Staycation – One of the most obvious money savers is to simply stay at home for your vacation. Turn off your phones and computers, and escape from the everyday. You can enjoy guilty pleasures like reality TV, ice cream every day, reading all afternoon by the pool or lake, or you can check out the local sites in your area you never have time to see.

• Wanna Switch? – Switching houses is a way you can see a new area for a little money. Contact your friends and family and see if they'd like to come to your area, while you travel to theirs. You won't have to spend much for entertainment and food, and your accommodations will, of course, be free.

• Road Trip – Gas prices are expected to be high this summer, but even so, taking a road trip is still the cheapest way to go on vacation. Pack the car, fill up the tank and head out.

If you choose to take a road trip, be sure you take these steps in order to be prepared and make sure your trip is the best ever:

1. Tune up your car, and make sure all the fluids have been checked, the oil is changed and your tires are inflated properly.

2. Make arrangements for accommodations and site-seeing opportunities ahead of time, so you don't get there and get disappointed.

3. Set up a plan ahead of time. Know where you want to go and stick to your plan. It's easy to go over budget if you don't.

4. Do some homework before your road trip to see if there are discounts on the attractions that you can take advantage of.

Published Apr 12 2012, 01:18 PM by moneycoach
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