Stretching Your Vacation Dollars

 
Family going on vacation
 Family vacation
(ARA) – We all look forward to vacations -- the precious time to recharge our batteries and spend care-free days and fun-filled nights with family and friends. But visions of vacations may change this year with a recession looming, rising gas prices and basics like food and housing at a premium. Many Americans are on tight budgets that are affecting their travel plans.

General vacation costs were up 3.7 percent in 2007 and those who have traveled in 2008 know it’s not getting better. Americans are being forced to look at ways to cut back on their travel expenses, while still planning something fun for everyone in their party.

These tough economic times mean travelers need to become creative and discover destinations closer to home where their dollar goes further. More Americans are turning to the Internet to plan affordable vacations and get new travel ideas. With access to dedicated travel recommendation sites that help you plan your perfect trip, online coupons, and booking sites that offer discounted packages for hotels and flights, the Web has opened up a whole new world for travelers to plan within their budgets.

Start your travel planning on a travel-specific search Web site that will help you narrow down your favorite activities, destinations and types of lodging accommodations. UpTake (www.uptake.com), a travel search and discovery engine, is a great place to start travel planning.  To help make affordable travel decisions, the site is currently offering access to information on the largest collection of affordable hotels and free or cheap activities from around the Web, including parks, museums, campgrounds and beaches. Frugal-minded travelers can plan their trip by simply going to the site and selecting an activity or lodging for the destination of their choice, and then click on the “Feelin’ Broke” button, to get a list of free, affordable and fun suggestions. Web sites like these take travelers’ preferences into consideration and help guide you to places and activities that interest you and are within your budget.

Once you have narrowed down your top choices of where you’d like to go and what you’d like to do, it’s time to look for coupons and discounts. For example, families can lower the expense of visiting a theme park in several ways -- by purchasing discount tickets in advance on the Internet, by downloading coupons that can be redeemed at the gate or by using memberships in associations such as AAA or AARP to get discounts at the facility. If you’re planning on traveling further from home, you should comparison shop the many popular online travel booking sites that offer discounted packages for flights, hotel and car rentals.

But always remember that no matter where you decide to go, taking a fun vacation does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money. Exploring nearby museums and art galleries, camping and hiking in a local state park, and taking tours through landmark or historical districts can create relaxing, fun experiences for everyone in your party.

So, when planning your upcoming vacation start your search on Web sites like UpTake to arrange your perfect trip, then do some research for coupons and discount packages. You’ll be amazed at the affordable, memorable vacation you will be able to take. 

For more information about UpTake, please visit www.uptake.com. 

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Oasis Cruise & Travel Stories   http://oasiscruise.com/Travel/Vacation-Dollars

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