Tips on how to plan a summer vacation without breaking the bank

The words ‘summer’ and ‘vacation’ go hand in hand.

This year, the problem is that your hand may be digging deep into your wallet to pay for a trip.

An expert gave FOX 32 a few tips on how to keep your vacation costs from flying sky-high.

The Executive Editor for Consumers' Checkbook Kevin Brasler says prices are up for everything — from airfare to rental cars to lodging. 

One thing you can do is sign up with flight booking websites.

"Here you can say, ‘Hey, notify me when fares that I'm interested in for trips I'm interested in,'" said Brasler.

You can also sign up for a consumer newsletter, where they search airline deals, and then they email them to you.

"Just know going in that most of those fares are going to be for basic economy," said Brasler.

When it comes to any airline reward points you may have, Brasler says don't obsess about using them. 

"Airlines and even hotel properties have their programs these days. What you’re getting is like a one or two percent rebate in effect … if you can save 20 percent by using a different airline or provider, it's better to do that than obsess about points," said Brasler.

As for finding a deal on a hotel room, Brasler says there are lots of hotel booking sites to look at — which can be good and bad.

"If you shop around for the same room, you’ll find that pretty much everyone is going to see the same price from site to site," said Brasler. 

Brasler says booking a travel package can be another way to save money when planning a vacation. 


"The problem is there are so many packages, and you have to be careful. Make sure you are indeed saving money as opposed to planning your trip à la carte," said Brasler. "That it just requires a ton of homework for these things."

That is why Brasler says it makes sense to contact a travel agent in this situation. 

"They are not going to charge you anything because they get a commission from the vacation package place," said Brasler. "So its really free trip planning, and you can avoid having to do a lot of homework."

When planning your trip, be sure to leave some room in your budget for a rental car.

"Because there is not a lot of availability with rental cars, prices are through the roof, you’ll pay $80 per day for an economy car. In some places, it's more than $100 a day for a basic mid-sized car," said Brasler.

Overall, Brasler says the key to planning your next vacation is to be flexible on when you go and where you go.

If you are planning on going to a popular travel destination for your trip, Brasler says the sooner you can start planning the better because as planes and hotels fill up, the prices also take off.