11 Rules for a Cheap Summer Vacation

Plan a memorable and relaxing week by taking advantage of this year’s deals and steals.

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Wait to upgrade. If you are intent on the honeymoon suite, waiting is a risky strategy. Otherwise, booking the lowest-price room or vehicle and then upgrading on the spot can lead to better deals. "This is not a guarantee, but something to consider," says Liola.

[See Your Midyear Money To-Do List.]

Cash in on rewards. If you're due for a payout from your credit card issuer in the form of cash back, gift cards, or airline miles, that payout can be used to fund your summer vacation. Many card issuers offer extra discounts on rewards offered through retail partners, which means you can often get even bigger rewards by using gift cards or airline miles.

Bring your own everything. Packing your own snacks, water bottles, and even a bike can reduce daily expenses on the road. Anyone traveling by air, however, will want to adopt the opposite strategy, since many airlines now charge to check bags.

Don't pay through the nozzle. Getting gas in the morning when gas is cooler and more dense, earning gas savings through a grocery loyalty card, and driving at steady speeds are a few ways to maximize your gas mileage, suggests travel expert Nicole Hockin, author of TravelSmartBlog.com.

The bottom line: With a little advance planning, summer travelers can land wallet-friendly deals. Happy vacationing!

Twitter: @alphaconsumer