Plan a Summer Getaway for Less

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Posted on 05/09/2008

Gas prices are soaring. So are airline ticket prices. But don't let your dreams of a summer vacation fly away. Let's face it — you need a little time to forget about the stress of high gas prices and rising food costs. Here are some ways to cut back and still afford to kick back.

1. Smarten up before you fill up. For some cool tools that help you map out the cheapest gas stations head to AAA. With the Fuel Price Finder you can locate the lowest priced gas within a zip code or city or near a point of interest. Planning your fill-ups can save you some serious cash over the course of your road trip.

2. Crunch the numbers. Does your car get crappy gas mileage? Before embarking on your summer road trip figure out if renting an economical car might be a more cost effective option. Head to MPGomatic.com and check out the Mileage Calculator. It's a great way to compare the operating costs of two cars. That way you can choose the best set of wheels for your summer getaway.

3. Set your alarm early. Leaving on the first flight out of town or hitting the road before the sun is out is a great way to save some money. You'll avoid spending an extra night in a hotel and according to AAA, that's no small amount of cash. According to a recent AAA survey the average cost for lodging in North America is $164 per night for double occupancy. Plus you may be able to find a better deal on that early morning flight.

4. Follow the rules. You're not the only one trying to save money. Airlines are, too. Many carriers have new regulations and are charging extra for overweight or additional bags. Avoid the fees and read up on the rules.

5. Look for gas rebates. Some vacation getaways eager for your business are offering gas rebates. At BnBFinder.com many bed and breakfasts are offering to deduct the cost of a tank of gas from the price of your room. On this site you can also find a long list of "one-tank trips." Just click on the city you live in and they'll give you a list of Bed and Breakfasts you can get to on a tank of gas.

6. Jump on a bus. Let's face it. Airline travel isn't what it used to be. At its best it's an expensive hassle. Why not try a bus trip instead? The ticket is cheaper, it's better for the environment and you won't have to get felt up by the TSA officer again.

By Alison Storm

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