Travel tips: 10 ways to...

You have to pay the mortgage, taxes and carpayments, and that can leave little for a grandtour of Europe or a fancy cruise. But with disciplineand diligence, families can save for that tripof their dreams. Here are some ideas to helpmake the dream a reality:

1. Make a plan // Join a savings club atyour bank or credit union, where a setamount is siphoned from each paycheckand sent to an account that you will use fortravel. The money will build up during theyear, and you won't have to worry abouthow to pay for the trip.

2. Break that habit // It is amazing howquickly small expenditures add up. Justfour to five lattes a week amounts to $1, 000per year.And smoking regularly is far moreexpensive. So before you make that dailytrip to the corner coffeehouse, ask yourselfif you would rather have a mocha today ora cappuccino in Florence a year from now.

3. Bank that refund // If you typically geta tax refund from the federal or state governmenteach year, squirrel that moneyaway in a vacation account.Depending onthe size of your refund, you could find yourselfwith enough money to take that long desiredHawaii trip in just a year or two.

4. Pile up credit card miles // If youcharge expenses, consider using a creditcard that awards airline miles or hotelpoints. But keep in mind, it doesn't makesense to run up your debt just to get a freeairline ticket.

5. Get rid of stuff // The Recycler, Craig'sList and eBay make it easy to unload thingsthat have value but just clutter your home.Why keep that motorcycle you haven't riddenin two years when it might pay for twotickets to London and a West End show?

6. Get higher interest // Don't risk moneyyou plan to spend on a vacation in thenext year or two in the stock market or aspeculative investment. But considerputting the funds in a money market accountor online bank that pays higher interestrates.The difference could be enoughto pay for a nice dinner or two in Paris.

7. Know when to book // Generally, theearlier you book a trip, the less you will spend.The best airline fares and cruise cabins tendto sell out first, especially around holidayssuch as Christmas and Thanksgiving.

8. Pick your moments // Avoid peak travelperiods. Consider skiing in mid-Januaryinstead of February. Go to Walt DisneyWorld during the slower winter months.Anytime you can avoid traveling to a destinationat a time when there is high demandyou will save money.

9. Think contrarian // Look for regionsthat are recovering from storm damage, suchas the Mexican Riviera or areas of SoutheastAsia. These areas may offer significant discountsto lure tourists back to the region toshow that they are open for business.

10. Swap your house // In The Holiday, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet use to swap homes in Los Angelesand Britain for several weeks. Such aswap lets vacationers avoid making hotelreservations and allows them to save lodgingexpenses. is a realWeb site that for a $59.95 annual membershipputs home swappers and are twoother organizations that do the same.

[From the Los Angeles Times]

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