I have a guest post today from Trisha Wagner.  She is a freelance writer for DepositAccounts.com, where you can compare rates of checking accounts from dozens of banks in one place. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of personal finance and savings accounts.

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Summer is right around the corner which normally signals the beginning of vacation season for many families. Due to the state of the economy, most households have cut costs and eliminated unnecessary spending which leaves many people thinking twice about getting away this season. If you are on the fence about traveling this summer, consider the following tips before you postpone or cancel your vacation.

· Downsize your vacation- If you traditionally plan one or two “big” vacations per year, consider making concessions to accommodate a less expensive version of your regular vacation. It may take a bit of planning and adjustments for expenses but the point of getting away is to actually get away. If you have to decide between no vacation or one that is on a smaller scale than you are used to, downsizing becomes more appealing. Consider changing your destination or taking a shorter vacation that will still provide your family a much needed break without busting the budget.

· Break away from the pack- When everyone else is heading for the beach, consider taking your family to a less popular destination. Avoiding “tourist” destinations will not only cost less money, but you will also avoid the hustle and bustle that most people are trying to escape by going on vacation. Ditch the crowds and inflated prices and strike out on your own this summer.

· Do your research- Prices vary based on demand. For example some hotels offer reduced rates on the weekend, while others have lower prices throughout the week. Do your research before confirming travel plans to ensure you get the best rates available. Be on the lookout for special events which may drive prices upward and reduce your chances or getting the best rate.

· Share the cost of expenses- You are probably familiar with the phrase, the more the merrier. When it comes to vacationing on a budget, being part of a group can definitely make traveling more fun and affordable. Friends or family members can save money by renting a vacation house or carpooling to reduce costs. Most vacation rentals have fully stocked kitchens and often offer laundry facilities which can really help stretch your budget by allowing you to prepare meals or do laundry without paying for the service.

· Entertain each other- Finding ways to entertain your family while on vacation can be one of the biggest expenses. Consider activities you can participate in as a family that will cost less money and encourage family members to reconnect. In the fast paced world we live in, it is possible to live in the same home without really spending quality time together, which makes finding ways to entertain each other even more valuable.

· Don’t go overboard- For many people who practice responsible money management throughout the year, vacations signal a time to let loose and indulge in activities they would not normally participate in at home. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a nice dinner or spa treatment as long as you don’t go overboard. Consider creating a vacation budget which will help you determine how much you can splurge and where to cut back on frivolous spending. To avoid going in debt to fund your trip, open a savings account that is for vacation savings only.

Summer vacations are often the only time of year when families can get together and take a break from the fast paced society in which we live. If you can find a way to fit a vacation into your budget and schedule this summer, take advantage of the opportunity to escape for a few days and enjoy your time together.

pic by: phineas H

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