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Planning for summer vacations

Vacations can sometimes come with a hefty price tag. Rather than just planning on overspending, it’s always a good idea to be proactive and plan ahead. This summer, do your best to enjoy a vacation without depleting your funds or adding additional debt. Before scheduling your trip, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota urges people to start by making sure that the deals they’ve found are legitimate.

Here are some additional ways you can manage your budget when preparing for your next getaway:

Don’t rely on credit cards. Avoid the debt trap by saving up ahead of time for your vacations, and pay as you go whenever possible. For larger purchases, such as airfare and hotel rooms, using a credit card provides added protections if problems arise, but make it a goal to pay off those expenses when your next statement arrives.

Prepare a budget : Planning is important. Make a little room in your budget by allowing for unexpected occurrences and emergencies.

Be resourceful: Check the State Tourism Board or local Chamber of Commerce website where you will be vacationing for suggestions and links to recreational ideas. See if there are any money-saving discount (such as Groupon) offers in the city you’re visiting. Or consider a “staycation,” a vacation where you visit local or regional attractions but sleep in your own bed at night.

Timing is everything: If you do plan on traveling outside of your immediate area, aim for the off-season. Prices are usually substantially lower, and you won’t have to deal with the crowds. Off-season depends on where you are: summer can be a terrific time to visit a ski resort, where you can get nice rooms and all the non-skiing amenities for a fraction of the cost of a winter trip.

Short and sweet: You don’t have to go on a two-week trip in order to feel refreshed after a vacation. Take a long weekend or two, and maximize your itinerary by planning activities well ahead of time.

Avoid unnecessary costs: Don’t find yourself trapped by additional charges or fees. For example, avoid hotel room phones, which often carry hefty surcharges. Pack as lightly as possible to avoid extra baggage charges.

Pack your own meals to-go: When you’re on the road, travel with a cooler and purchase snacks ahead of time.

Use Public Transportation: Choose a destination with lots to see and do, and simply walk from place to place. Also, consider using local bus or transit service rather than driving and parking.

To help ensure a successful and enjoyable summer vacation, it’s always a good idea to first research the businesses behind the travel offers you’re considering at