6 Budget Tips to Help Pay for a Summer Break

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Summer may be just around the corner, but it’s not too late to start budgeting for a warm weather family vacation.

Even if you’ve already saved a little, you may need to kick your spending savvy into high gear. According to TripAdvisor.com, 56% of U.S. accommodations and 40% of worldwide accommodations plan to increase their room rates over the next three months. Unfortunately, almost one-third of Americans — 28% — pay for their vacations with a credit card that may not immediately be paid off.

But don’t fret. You don’t have to go into debt to enjoy some down time with your loved ones. Whether you’re eyeing an international voyage or a lazy long weekend at the lake, our experts have six easy ways to save for a much-needed summer getaway.

Use the Internet to your advantage

Whether you’re analyzing your personal finances or checking out the best rental car deals for the drive, countless sites offer what you need.

“Budgeting tool Mint.com allows you to monitor your expenses, set goals like saving for a vacation or paying down debt and helps you track progress toward those goals,” says Trae Bodge, senior editor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.

Once you've set aside money and it’s time to book your travel, select packages that pair flights, lodging and car rental as opposed to booking a la carte, Bodge suggests. Online travel sites such as Priceline, Expedia and Travelocity indicate that consumers can save an average of anywhere from $200 to $500 by booking a customized vacation package versus booking elements such as flight and hotel separately.

When it comes to saving money on a travel essential such as gas, Tom Gilmore, CEO of VacationHomeRentals.com, recommends GasBuddy.com.

“With gas prices on the rise, it’s crucial to find the cheapest gas station possible. GasBuddy uses your location and finds the cheapest gas near you. It not only tells you the price of each gas type, but it even lets you know how many miles away the station is,” Gilmore says.