According to a recent survey by Bankrate, nearly half of Americans (49 percent) don’t plan to take a vacation this summer and 1 in 4 respondents say they’re not taking a summer vacation because they can’t afford it.

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To help save money, here are 10 strategies to help fill your travel fund from TopCashback.com:

  • Save your change. One of the best ways to save money for vacation is by keeping the change you receive and putting that towards your savings. Whenever you break a big bill and get $1 and $5 bills back, drop them in a jar at home. The loose change will eventually add up and you can move it into your vacation fund.
  • Cut spending.Take a hard look at your upcoming, monthly bills to see where you can trim expenses. Do you pay for a subscription you don’t need or a gym membership you barely use? If so, consider putting those on a temporary hold or cancel them altogether to save some cash. You can also look into carpooling, cutting back on your daily coffee at Dunkin, or cooking at home to reduce costs and increase savings.
  • Use Skyscanner's Everywhere option. If you're itching for a summer getaway, before parting with money for an airfare, visit SkyScanner.com. The site is a great tool for those who have an urge to book a spontaneous trip, simply don’t mind their destination or would like inspiration. This is because you can search roundtrip options from your local airport within its special “Flexible? Everywhere” category.
  • Research sales and deals.Avoid paying full price for anything while booking a vacation by utilizing sales, coupons, deals, and booking via a cashback site. Sign up for email newsletters from hotels, airlines and third-party travel sites so you’re notified when there’s a sale or price drop last minute. The good news is, there are plenty of last-minute deals you can take advantage of that won't bust your budget. Once you're set on a trip, visit com to receive cashback on your travel purchases. You can receive $16 cashback for international flight tickets purchased with JustFly or you can get $15 on flights bought at FlightHubHotels.com offers up to 9 percent cashback for completed stays and Expedia gives up to 8 percent on hotel bookings!
  • Choose the right season to travel. The travel industry has jargon regarding times to travel- peak season, shoulder season and off-season! More often than not, you will find special deals and steals on travel for off-season trips. Peak seasons are usually during holiday breaks, which makes it difficult to find affordable flight and rooms. My best advice would be to plan your trip during the low season to give yourself cheaper options. You can also consider traveling during less-popular times such as midweek, early mornings or later in the evening to score a better deal.
  • Opt for an Airbnb.  Adventure out of your comfort zone and book a stay through Often Airbnb will be more accommodating to last-minute bookings, offer lower rates than popular hotel chains and give you plenty of luxuries.  Whether you book an Airbnb in the heart of the city or in the country, alternative lodging is the best way to save money but still reside in style.
  • Consider various forms of transportation. If you aren’t pressed for time, perhaps take the scenic route and booking a train ticket. It can be cheaper than airplane travel. For example, a last-minute one-way ticket from New York City to Washington DC with Amtrak costs $91 for one adult coach seat, while a one-way airline ticket can cost in excess of $120 a person.
  • Pick a hotel off the beaten path. Similar to real estate, location greatly impacts hotel prices. A room in the heart of a city will cost far more than a hotel a few minutes away in a less popular area. You can score an even better deal if you stay 15-20 minutes outside of the city.
  • Purchase gift cards to chain restaurants or coffee shops to save money at your destination. Cut the cost of meals by purchasing gift cards in advance for popular chains at heavily discounted prices via gift card marketplaces, such as Raise or Gift Card Granny. Buying the gift cards or certificates ahead of time will significantly lower meal costs, maybe by hundreds of dollars depending on your vacation’s duration and group size. You don’t have to limit this money-saving tip to vacations either; you can visit the gift card marketplaces to purchase retail gift cards as well to save money on purchases in-store and online!
  • Don’t splurge on an upgrade.Expert travelers know to avoid paying extra fees for upgrades and priority boarding. If you have a flight booked already, use any reward miles you may have to upgrade to a better seat on the plane since that gives you the best value for your points. Don't have a rewards credit card? Research credit cards that offer a hefty sign-up bonus for spending a specific amount of money within a short time period. If you’re going to be spending the money, you might as well receive a bonus for it! The miles you accrue can be put towards booking a flight or upgrading. Depending on the credit card, you could receive additional perks such as lounge access or free bags. Also, the majority of airlines are part of the three major alliance groups – OneWorld, Star Alliance or Sky Team – so you can combine airline miles towards one big upgrade as long as the airlines are part of the same family.

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