7 Ways to save money on vacation

We all love the idea of getting away after Memorial Day. After all, the children are out of school and many of us have unused vacation time at work. If you fall into this category, you might be wondering if it is possible to take a vacation and still save money. The answer is yes — in fact, here are 11 ways you can save money planning, traveling, and enjoying your vacation.

1. Use a Rewards Credit Card

While you do not want to pile on more debt to go on vacation if you have a rewards credit card, use it to book your trip! The rewards can add up quickly if you pay for your travel with a rewards card and you can use those rewards to save on other items. Make sure you pay the bill in full as quickly as possible.

2. Make the Most of Travel Loyalty Programs

Travel rewards are often available for those who travel via airline or stay in the same hotel chain time after time. Make sure if you are planning a stay you double check the company's loyalty program which can mean upgrades in travel, complimentary hotel rooms or even a complimentary breakfast. These rewards can add up quickly and save you money on your vacation.

3. Consider Camping to Really Save

Many of our National Parks have inexpensive options for camping. In addition to the savings you can realize by camping (no hotel rooms), you can also cook on site in many locations which means a savings in meals as well. Check out the National Parks sites and find out what options you have for camping with your family and you can save hundreds of dollars on a fun vacation.

4. Find the Best Last-Minute Deals

Many travelers think the sooner they book their travel and hotel rooms, the better deal they can get on their travel. However, there are often last-minute deals which can be a bargain if you are traveling. Cars, destination city sights, and hotel rooms which offer discount rates can be identified saving you money if you wait until the last minute.

5. Saving Money on Food While Vacationing

There are many ways to save money feeding you and your family when you are vacationing. First, consider eating out at lunch time instead of dinner time. If this is not a viable option for you, consider checking out local restaurants for "Early Bird Specials" which often involves eating an early dinner instead of "prime" time for meals. These meals are typically limited in number and served only through a certain time of the evening. However, you can save $5 to $10 per person if you take advantage of these meals.

6. Check Out Popular Cash Back Websites

Cash back websites give you bonus points which can be converted to real dollars. If you check out some of the more popular cash back websites you can find options to get cash back for purchasing suitcases, clothes for vacation, booking hotel rooms and booking travel arrangements. The good news is the extra cash can be used to pay off other bills reducing your debt or for extra spending money while you are traveling.

7. Make the Most of Multi-Attraction Passes

Another great way to save money on vacation is by searching for passes that will allow you to see multiple attractions over the course of two or more days for a discounted rate. There are many cities which offer multi-attraction passes that are ideal for families on vacations. Whether you are interested in museums, parks, or other attractions, you may be able to find a pass that is right for your family vacation.

While you may be working hard to pay down your debt, that does not mean you have to avoid vacationing with your family. With a little planning, and some smart spending, you can enjoy vacation and still continue to save money.