With spring classes officially in the books, summer break is finally upon us – except for anyone taking summer courses starting next week. (Whomp whomp… but kudos to you for being ambitious and continuing that grind. You go Glen Coco!) Nothing says summer more than planning a relaxing trip or vacation. Whether it’s with family or a few college buddies, start mapping out your warm weather vacation strategy ASAP to save some money. Here are our tips :

When to book a bargain
A general rule of thumb is to purchase plane tickets at least six weeks in advance. That goes for domestic travel around the US, but worldly travelers should be looking as early as six months out. It has been rumored that Tuesdays and Sundays can be the best days of the week to get the lowest fare on plane tickets. Are you traveling during a holiday? Use this site to help plan your holiday travel and utilize the help of Hopper, an app that analyzes flight prices to predict when ticket costs will hit rock bottom. 

Fly the (budget) friendly skies
There are some great sites out there that can help you find low fares, and while the list can seem endless – Kayak and Google Flights are among the most well known services for bargain hunters. Scott’s cheap flights is a site that delivers great results for international travelers. Their team of humans (not computers) search for cheap flights all day every day, and when an airline makes mistakes or offers a great sale, they will email you with instructions on how to book. Sign up for their newsletter to be in the loop of the rarest of rare travel finds. This is a great way to find travel inspiration, too!

Land supercheap lodging
Everyone knows the lodging part of a vacation can turn out to be the most expensive. Turn to booking.com to find the absolute cheapest hotel rates. Of course, sites like Airbnb and VRBO are becoming popular because the rates are usually cheaper, AND you’re offered more amenities/room space which = more bang for your buck. Consider contacting the host directly to kindly inquire if there’s room to negotiate on price. You’d be surprised how often there is, especially during off-season times of the year.

App, app and away!
In addition to plane tickets and lodging, we know there are little travel expenses that tend to add up along the way. Baggage rates, rental cars, Uber/Lyft, food, the list goes on! To make the most of your vacation dollar, use these handy budgeting appsTrabee Pocket helps you set a vacation budget in advance so you can plan easier, and even offers a function to use multiple currencies and set exchange rates. When you're all done, you can view and export your travel expense report. (Calling all budget nerds!)

Be a savvy spender
Let's be real. Traveling is fun but it can get expensive if you don't play your cards right. In addition to using these tips, make sure you are not relying on a loan or credit card to fund your vacations. Credit cards should be a no go unless 1) You are taking advantage of the reward/airline points and 2) You have the cash on hand to pay off the credit card purchases in full. The only thing you should be paying for after your trip is a bad sun burn, not the interest on your credit card!