Summer Vacation on beach photoPlanning a Summer vacation? Maybe it’s the best time to go on vacation with the kids since they will be out of school; whatever the reason, you’re interested in traveling during one of the most popular times of the year. Of course, the popularity of summer travel means that costs can skyrocket. So how are you supposed to have a great vacation if everywhere you look is seemingly out of your budget?

There are a few ways you can get significant savings on your summer vacation. Try one or all of these tips:

Be flexible with summer vacation location

Popular destinations for summer break will have inflated rates – and so will the airline tickets to get there. Try looking at a few destinations beyond the handful known for attracting throngs of vacationers every year. Ogunquit, Maine, Portland and Austin are just a few places that have comfortable temperatures in the summer, and prices are reasonable.

Consider all lodging options

If you want to stay at a hotel or resort, make the most of your time there. When you choose your hotel, verify that your reservation is refundable. That means you can rebook if you see the hotel drops its price in the following weeks. Also, try to find a hotel with complimentary breakfast and snacks.

There are other lodging options to consider. Websites like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.com (short for vacation rental by owner) have thousands of rental properties and vacation homes available pretty much anywhere you want to stay. HomeAway and VRBO mostly consist of vacation rentals, while Airbnb features a wider variety of properties, including rooms or cabins on a full-time resident’s property. The more flexible you are with your options, the cheaper the possibilities. Of course, you’ll want to choose carefully based on reviews and whether or not a website has personally verified a rental and its owner.

Save money elsewhere

Even if you didn’t get quite the deal you wanted on your flight and hotel, you can still save a bunch of money when you get there. Food and beverages are one of the biggest expenses on a vacation. Make sure your lodging has a fridge and microwave available, and you can save money by bringing snacks and food with you. Or, if you have access to a nearby grocery store, you can shop at the beginning of your trip and plan meals ahead.

Once you reach your destination, take advantage of free or inexpensive attractions. Museums, zoos, aquariums and national parks may offer discounted or even free admission, especially if you visit during the week. If you have a membership at your home institutions, see if that might grant you access elsewhere. You can also look for activities that are free for kids.

Make sure to spend plenty of time going over your packing list, and you can avoid stopping in to overpriced gift shops for necessities like sun screen, sunglasses or a hat.

Book and search online for deals

There are so many travel companies, airlines, hotels and resorts out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Let a coupon and deal website do the work for you and check out their top travel discounts. Sign up for alerts when prices drop or when a deal pops up where you want to go. You can also tune in to forums and deal websites specific to the area where you’re traveling. Search there for advice from insiders and locals on free activities and upcoming events that you might not hear about otherwise.

Now you’re a bit more equipped to find a summer destination that fulfills your dreams and your budget!