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Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 in Back To School, Travel | 0 comments

5 Strategies for Having Last Minute Summer Fun on a Budget

Summer comes and goes in the blink of an eye. If you wait too long to put together your vacation plans, costs can easily get the better of you. Back-to-school expenses and holiday shopping are right around the corner, so don’t let your travel plans take you down the road to credit card debt. Do some advance research and cut your vacation costs with these five ways to save.

summer-pool

1. Priceline
Priceline’s Name Your Own Price feature allows you to submit bids on airfares. As long as you don’t mind flying on any airline, dealing with a layover, or departing and arriving at any time of day or night, you can save a bundle by going this route. Place a low bid, but not too low, especially if you need to book a flight in short order. If your bid is rejected, you have to wait 24 hours before you can submit another one.

2. Last-Minute Travel Apps
Plenty of general travel apps like TripAdvisor and Desti can help you save money, but some apps are specifically designed for last-minute jaunts. HotelTonight, for example, helps find you the best rates on available hotels in your locale with little notice. You can also try out the app Last Minute Travel, which is good for airfares, hotels, and entertainment activities.

3. Stay Local
When you’re planning a vacation on short notice, there might not be time to throw together an exotic Cancun retreat without the costs killing you. Consider staying local instead. Check out your state’s travel website and see if you can find a hidden gem to center your vacation around. You just might be able to discover a hidden gem in your area and limit your travel distance and gas costs at the same time.

4. Get Discounted Entertainment
Since you might not have the time or money to take in all the best entertainment options at your preferred destination, look for discounted activities. Go to websites like Valpak, where you can likely find a glut of discount vouchers for local restaurants and other entertainment activities for 50% off, or more.

5. Choose Your Destinations Wisely
I live in Atlanta, which means that taking a summer vacation to Charleston, SC is a lot less expensive than heading to Panama City Beach, FL – a typical Southeast tourist hot spot. When you travel at the last minute, be sure to consider lesser known locations near you. You just might have the time of your life.

If you find that you’ve saved $500 on your summer trek because of your money-saving ingenuity, don’t let it sit idle – put it where your budget needs the most help. For many, that’s credit card debt, for others it could be retirement savings, a college fund for the kids, or an emergency fund. Saving money on last-minute summer travel is important, but so is putting that cash to its best use.

What ways can you think of to save on last-minute summer travel?

Guest blogger Andrew Schrage is a Savings.com DealPro and co-founder of MoneyCrashers.com, a website that strives to educate individuals in making wise choices about credit, debt, spending and more.

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