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The internet is rife with articles telling you how to save money while you’re on vacation—from packing your own snacks for theme parks to bringing a refillable water bottle through airport security, you’ve heard them all before. But what about saving money before your trip even starts? We got you.

RELATED: 8 experts ways to save on flights

First, set a travel budget

It may sound like a buzzkill to start trip planning with a budget number in mind, but too often budget travelers limit themselves by assuming they can’t possibly afford an overseas trip or popular city. In reality, there are so many places accessible to travelers today that just might not be on their radar. One tool we recommend is Vacation Value Finder from CheapTickets. You start your vacation search by inputting the price you want to pay up front and a few preferences like season and activities. It returns trip ideas based on what you can actually afford—and you’d be surprised at the places you can go. It’s a great way to get an idea of what’s possible.

Young woman working on a laptop

Look for last-minute deals

Shopping for last-minute deals can really save travelers a lot. If you are flexible and can sort of travel at a moment’s notice, you’ll unlock savings on last-minute inventory, especially with hotels or vacation packages where you book a combination like hotel and airfare or hotel and car together. When CheapTickets compared booking windows for spring break this year, the cheapest time to book a vacation package was just one week out. Setting up alerts, shopping via apps on your mobile phone or getting on an email list for travel deals from an online travel agency is a great way to find extra savings.

Shot of a young man enjoying a road trip

Take a road trip

Budget travelers know that when you are looking to save, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices. Taking the long route, aka making a road trip of it and driving, is an easy way to cut back on airfare costs, which do tend to spike during the busy summer travel season. This is especially true if you’re traveling with more than two people.

Go farther afield

This tip has double meaning, too: Look for accommodations and airports further out from your desired destination to save. Budget airlines, like the Dublin-based Ryanair, are known for flying in and out of smaller or secondary European airports like London-Stanstead to save on fares. The same applies for hotels. If you can stay in a neighborhood on the edge of downtown or in a nearby suburb you can often find better deals.

Travel like a local

Skip the Ubers and Lyfts and opt for public transportation. Search for hotels that include free breakfast. Research days when museums and other attractions offer free days or student/military discounts. Pack extra tote bags to go grocery shopping or pick up duty-free beer and liquor at the airport. Everyday savings on snacks, on-the-ground transportation, entertainment and drinks can go a long way throughout your trip. This is a good pre-trip money saving tip, too. A no-spend month could mean the difference between a summer vacation closer to home or a plane ticket to someplace new. Don’t discount just how far a little penny pinching can take you!

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Tips & advice

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