In my recent interview on WBTV I shared a few ways to help plan a last-minute summer vacation while still keeping our spending down. According to a survey by American Express, two-thirds of Americans plan to travel this summer, spending an average of $1,200. The simple tips below although seemingly insignificant can add up to BIG savings.

Tip #1: Avoid Costly Cab Rides

A little pre-planning can save you- taxis are pricey! Most cities have subways or buses between downtown and the airport. Ask the concierge at the hotel what is the best and cheapest way to get around.

Tip #2: Don’t Travel Hungry

Just like you shouldn’t grocery shop hungry, the same concept applies to eating out while traveling. Nothing sinks a travel budget like dining expenses! Especially with unexpected travel delays- you can save quite a bit by packing snacks, meal or protein bars, even carry a water bottle that you can refill at water fountains.

Tip #3: Eat Smart

Similarly, you can save hundreds of dollars if you make smart choices about where and when you eat on vacation. Take advantage of continental breakfasts, get a hotel room with a fridge and microwave- that way you can get groceries for some cheap meals in your room. Go out to lunch- often times, plate sizes are the same, but prices are less. Then you can take leftovers back to your room. And take advantage of happy hours – great deals on drinks and food!

Tip #4: Sight-see for Free

Just about every city has free museums or parks to visit (even some of the big attractions are free- Liberty Bell, Smithsonian). Some museums will be free on one day- like the first Sunday of each month. Not everything you want to see will be free, but there are several online sites which can bring down the high cost of aquariums, zoos and other attractions. Check out my website for links to some of those sites.

Tip #5: Skip the Souvenirs

Swiss chocolates, Statue of Liberty playing cards, an Eiffel Tower key chain- we used to feel the need to pack up little souvenirs for all of our loved ones and co-workers. Talk about an easy way to blow your budget. If you really need to get someone a trinket from your trip- check online. You can probably find something cheaper. Instead only spend money on those truly unique, locally made items.