Are you eagerly awaiting your summer vacation to Honolulu, ticket in hand? Still stuck in the daydream stage? Planners and dreamers alike, read on to learn some quick tricks for saving on summer travel.

Sure, vacation is a time to indulge. But you can make the most of your spending with a few travel hacks. Peace of wallet, peace of mind. Ahhh.

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1. Fly Flexibly

You can’t wait to jet off when vacation time comes. We get it. But if your schedule allows, flexible flight options save you money. Sites like allow you to search a range of days for the best prices, though they hide this function away in the advanced search options.

If you learn to navigate travel and airline sites with savvy, you might be surprised at the savings you find.

flexible flight options on Kayak
You can search for flexible dates by clicking "More search options" on

2. Strategize Meals

Ever have too much of a good thing, like dining out several days in a row? After a while, you feel permanently full—and wish you could transfer that feeling to your empty wallet.

If you’re a foodie like me, you’ll try to sample all of the delicacies in a 10-mile radius of where you’re vacationing. Don’t—this strategy doesn’t pay off (literally) and leaves you feeling sluggish. Instead, strategize which meals you want to eat at a restaurant, then hit up a local grocery store for the remaining meal ingredients and snack foods.

3. Pack Light

plane flying over clouds blue skyYou already know that most airline companies will dig into your pockets if you lug a big suitcase onto your flight. This is one great reason to pack light.

However, the savings don’t end at the airport. You free up your options when you live with less while traveling. Example A: With a manageably-sized bag, you can forgo an expensive cab ride in favor of taking public transportation.  Example B: You can carry your own bag up to your third-story hotel room, rather than paying someone at the hotel to do it for you.

4. Prioritize Your Interests

The most overlooked travel advice? Don’t do things you don’t want to do. If art doesn’t interest you, don’t spend your Eurotrip (and a chunk of change) in art museums just because you feel like you should.

Friends, websites, and guidebooks will tell you dozens of things that you  should do, especially if you’re in a popular tourist destination. Take all advice with a grain of salt; you know what will make you happy on vacation better than anyone else.

Cut out the stuff that feels obligatory and go for activities that truly interest you. You’ll feel more satisfied when you spend your money where you’ll most enjoy it.

5. Avoid the Tourists

Speaking of tourist destinations, stay away. A high density of tourists usually means higher prices.

eiffel tower paris, france - europe vacationOpt for a destination that’s less well-known. Or, research your destination ahead of time to get a lay of the land. There are always places outside the tourist bubble that will stretch your dollar further. An added perk: the hidden gems might show you a more authentic side of the place you’re visiting.

6. Lodge Unconventionally

Booking a hotel is a mandatory step when you’re planning a getaway, right?

Not quite. All types of travelers have started to embrace lodging styles that are outside the traditional hotel box. You can easily browse more affordable options on the web. Try these sites to get you started:

  • Airbnb. This site has grown into a fan favorite since its founding in 2008. You can search by various criteria, including by price point or by lodging style. Many users rent apartments or houses in prime locations to travelers while charging less than hotels.
  • Hostelworld. Hostelworld allows you to search for wallet-friendly hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, and more with user reviews as your guide.

7. Plan for the Off-Season

If aren’t itching for a vacation quite yet, wait out the crowds and the high prices. Find out when your dream destination is the least crowded, and when airlines charge the least for flights, and plan to go then.

Some types of lodging change their rates based on tourist seasons. By skipping the rush you could pay less for a quality stay. Plus, you’ll enjoy the location and its attractions without the high-season congestion.

Have any summer travel hacks? How about a travel nightmare that taught you the hard way? Share with us on TwitterFacebook or Google+!