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Tips for reducing vacation costs

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Spring fever is hitting, and singletons, couples and families are starting to get the travel bug. Unfortunately, the rising desire to hit the road does not always coincide with a boost in income to cover the travel costs. The Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown has partnered with Bank of America to offer tips on how to make your family vacation, whether that’s spring break or just a farewell to winter weekend, a dream trip that won’t break the bank.

Samantha Brown’s tips include:

  1. Get the first flight out – While it’s hard to get the family up early, the first flight out is always cheaper and most likely leaves on time which is especially important when you have a connecting flight.
  2. Never think you’re going to be fed on the plane – Don’t wait to eat at the airport, plan your food ahead of time. Whether you eat at the house or bring snacks it will save you time and money. Just be sure to check TSA regulations to see what is allowed through security.
  3. Rehearse the security line – Between taking off your shoes, unpacking our laptops and taking off coats, the security line can get a bit messy. Prepare your kids by practicing with the whole family the night before; pretend the kitchen island is the security table, a salad bowl a bin and a doorway the metal detector.
  4. Plan your return – When you arrive at your destination airport, don’t just hurry to baggage claim. Take inventory of the airport including restaurants, cafes, indoor playgrounds, security line, etc. Now you’ll know if you need to plan some extra time and you won’t feel as inexperienced for your return.
  5. Use credit card rewards to offset the costs – The BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card gives you the flexibility to earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent on all purchases that be used for hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, baggage fees, attractions and even upgrades to 1st class.

I think these tips are incredibly useful. By necessity, I have become a light packer, and I can have my TSA compliant carry-on ready to go quickly. Over-packing can lead to extra charges, and many airlines are charging to check any bags at all. I know it’s only $25 here and $25 there, but that’s money I’m not willing to let go for the sake of an extra pair of shoes. I’d rather spend it on wine once I arrive at my destination.

Do I want to spend $8 on a snack pack when flying? Of course, the answer to that is no. Brown is right—you can’t rely on being fed for free on a plane anymore. I bring light snacks that travel well. This not only gets me out of annoying extra charges, but it allows me to eat whenever I feel like it, and not when they get to me.

What do you do to help cut costs when you are flying off to vacation? Do you find yourself sticking closer to home in order to save money? Sound off on your favorite ways to save cash while traveling.

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