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How To Afford Your Dream Vacation

Aside from a lack of vacation days, family obligations and not having the time to plan, one of the biggest reasons people don’t travel is money. With gas prices, taxes and tuitions constantly on the rise, who can afford to get away? At Travelzoo, we believe that with some smart planning and a realistic goal, your dream vacation may be closer than you think.

Rack up points: Take advantage of your credit cards’ rewards programs and make your purchases count toward airline points or gift cards for hotels and rental cars. If you have a preferred airline, it may be worth signing up for their credit card, many of which reward you with enough points for a roundtrip flight within the first few months of use (read the fine print closely). If you stick with your bank’s card, pay attention to which purchase categories award the most points (like gas, groceries and gym memberships) and always use that card when shopping.

Brownbag it: As tedious as it can be to make your lunch every day, you can easily save $5-$10 a day by staying away from Subway and Chipotle, adding up to $100-$200 in your pocket every month. This goes for your coffee too -- that daily Grande Pike Place may only be $2, but multiplied by roughly 250 business days a year, that’s $500 you could put toward your trip instead.

Create a vacation fund: Whether it’s a jar on the kitchen table or a savings account at your bank, set a goal and put that amount aside every month. This could be the money you save from nixing Starbucks, your tax return or your quarterly bonus. Wherever it comes from, it’s too easy to spend it on something else if it’s mixed in with the rest of your funds.

Shop for deals: If you know where you want to go, start scouting out deals in that city now. A keyword search on the Travelzoo homepage for Caribbean vacations pulls many results, including flights, car rentals, hotels and full vacation packages. And don’t forget to check the Local Deals section and save big on dinners, spa treatments and tours before you even get there. Just make sure to check the redemption dates and any other restrictions before you buy.

Look to offseason: Paris in February may not sound as romantic and Paris in June, but you can save a lot of money on airfare and hotels and avoid the crowds while touring the Eiffel Tour, Louvre and Notre Dame. Find out when low season is in your destination of choice and you’ll reach your goal that much sooner, with a little money left over for souvenirs.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Chicago
Friday, November 9, 2012
See more Tips from
Erica Wacker