PHOENIX - If you're living on a shoestring budget, it's important to make every dollar count - especially when it comes to your vacation.
But your family doesn't have to miss out on all the fun in order to save a few bucks. AAA has easy 5 ways you can save on travel expenses.
1. Figure out how much you can spend. Plan for transportation, meals, lodging, activities, souvenirs, and any other expenses you might expect throughout your trip. Stretch out your dollars by checking out travel websites, using AAA members discounts and download phone apps to help you on the go.
2. Stay flexible. You can save money if you're willing to travel on off-peak dates, take early morning or late night flights or even choose a different destination. If you're determined to take a vacation over specific dates, AAA says you can save cash by opting to stay in-state.
3. Budget your food spending. AAA says the best way to avoid overspending on food is to limit your daily food budget. Plus, you can pack your own snacks, choose hotels that offer free breakfasts and seek out restaurant that offer free meals for your kids.
4. Sleep on the cheap. If you choose your lodging based on AAA's diamond ratings, you can find a comfortable, clean place to stay without breaking the bank. For example, a two or three diamond rating can save you $150 or more over the length of your stay.
5. Choose your transportation wisely. Gas prices may be falling, but the cost to fill up could still cost you an arm and a leg. AAA says most travelers will choose to drive to their vacation destinations this summer. But before you pack your bags, you should figure out which household vehicle will give you the best gas mileage. For example, if your family's planning to take a Toyota Sequoia van from Phoenix to San Diego, you should expect to pay around $200 round-trip. If your family can fit into a Toyota Camry, you could save about $70 on fuel.
"Many travelers will be challenged to do more with less this summer," says Amy Moreno, director of travel services for AAA Arizona. "It's never been more important for consumers to make sure that every dollar counts."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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