Vacations are wonderful things but they can also be quite expensive. Whether youre opting for a staycation close to home or an exotic locale, having a travel budget is important to curb overspending. Saving up for your trip is a better option than using credit cards that youll be repaying long after your fun is done. Flights, lodging, meals, gas, and other expenses can really add up, but there are some savvy ways to cut down on those costs. Start planning ahead. Last-minute travel is more expensive. Travel during the off-peak season, if you can, to avoid rate hikes. Cut back on eating out. Prepare your food or head to the market rather than dining in a restaurant. Get around by public transportation. Youll actually get to see more by not driving and save on car rentals and gas. If driving to your destination, choose a time of year when fuel is typically cheaper (gas prices seem to peak around Memorial Day). Instead of getting a hotel room, consider a room in a home hosted on AirBnB or Couchsurfing. You can also house swap with other vacationers via sites likeHomeExchange.com. If youre flying, look for deals months before you travel and be flexible on your arrival and departure days. Mid-week flights are usually cheaper. Vacation with friends or family and split the costs. You can rent a house and take turns with meals.