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Vacation-on-a-budgetApril is here and that has many of us scrambling to book last minute spring and summer getaways. Deciding when, where, and for how long you'll be vacationing is stressful, especially when you have a budget. Taking a vacation does not have to cost as much as you think, especially in this rough economy.  You can start saving by knowing how to shop around for hot spots, asking the right questions, and being flexible. This month at The List we are sharing tips and advice on how not to overpay when planning a spring family vacation (or one at other times of the year).  

Below you'll find many different ways to save no matter the type of vacation you're family is embarking on. All you really need to know are a few key tips like the best time to travel, where to find the best deals, or deciding on the best method of transportation.  Use The List: Vacation On A Budget to save yourself some aggravation, packing time, and money of course!

The List: Vacation on a Budget 

1. Look for Vacation Deals

If you have a vacation destination in mind, ask the reservation agent about specials or offers. Don't be shy—you are looking to save money and they are looking to book rooms that are empty so there is definitely room for negotiating. If you don't have any one place in mind, look for discounts on consolidator sites. They offer savings and the freedom to search lots of different trips online. One we really like for their huge selection and variety of prices, is kayak.com. 

2. Last-minute Vacation Plans

If you didn't have the time to plan ahead or you couldn't commit for reasons like work schedules or this year's budget, there are services that offer last-minute deals at a significant price reduction. Sites like momentsnotice.com and lastminutetravel.com charge low annual fees to give you access to trips that are anywhere from a week to a few months away.  Also, because many hotels have a two-week cancellation policy, check in with them the day after two weeks before your trip. Most hotelswould rather reduce their rate than see a room sit empty.

3. Travel Off-Peak

If possible, plan your vacation during off-peak times. The term "shoulder season" refers to the time between high and low seasons, when the weather is still desirable but the crowds have gone so rooms rates have dropped and restaurants not only have room but their menus prices are less. Some popular US destinations like Nantucket and New Mexico are still great to visit after Labor Day, and Europe's shoulder season is in the fall.

4. Travel Off-Season

You can also save money by visiting certain hot spots off-season. If you've always wanted to go out west to the mountains of Wyoming or Colorado, do so when the ski lifts close for the season. There is still lots to do, spectacular scenery and restaurants and stores offering plenty of specials and sales.

5. Spend a Few Days

For a trip that’s just a few days think about staying closer to home. Getting there only costs you gas instead of airline tickets. Car time can also be fun family time (car-i-okie anyone?). A midweek getaway or one over the weekend means you'll be paying less in hotel fares, meals out of the house, and activity fees. Or, save loads of time and money  by having a  stay-cation with the family. 

For more vacation tips, please visit Poshmom.

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