THE BLOG

5 Tips to Plan a Better Vacation

06/01/2015 05:10 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2016

With summer quickly approaching, the thought of a summer vacation may have crossed your mind. You may be thinking about location, activities to do and your budget.

A survey conducted by AAA in 2013 found that the most frustrating thing about traveling was unexpected expenses such as "airline fees, resort fees and parking," and the third most frustrating was "finding the best price for lodging and transportation."

If you're looking for the best ways to save money on your summer vacation look no further than these 5 tips to help you plan a vacation the family will never forget.

1. Avoid Peak Season
Popular times to travel during the summer are the second and third weeks of August and any holiday weekends. Avoid these times because you will be facing sky-high prices for flights, hotels, and cars. Not to mention tours that will be completely booked to the brim. Consider traveling in June for the best rates.

2. Look into Other Hotel Options
If you're planning on going to a major city for vacation like New York City or London, consider staying in a nearby city to save a ton of money on your room rates. If the city you're visiting has a great public transportation system, even better! You'll be able to see more of the city and save money at the same time. If you're feeling more adventurous with your accommodations, consider a home exchange program. Airbnb.com is a great website where people open up their homes to visitors. It's a great way to see a different side of a city.

3. Do Your Research on Activities
If you plan on doing excursions be sure to book early. Peak season comes along with peak pricing and large crowds. If you have your heart set on an activity whether it be a tour, visiting a landmark or some type of excursion try and book it as early as possible to get the best price as well as secure your spot. A great website for finding great deals is Groupon.com. Just put in your vacation destination and they will have great deals on everything from paintball to restaurants to spa packages. You can even book hotel packages with them. Just be sure to research the hotel and how far it is from your destination.

4. Be a Backyard Explorer
Living in Florida, we have tons of access to exploring the area we live in. If you're looking for an adventurous vacation a state park is right up your alley. Many state parks in Florida, whether it be in The Keys, Miami or Central Florida have activities suitable for every age. Snorkeling in a coral reef, hiking trails, kayaking through mangroves, bike trails and tubing through clear springs are just a few options. Plus, pets are typically allowed in these areas (as long as you clean up after them!)

If you're looking for a more relaxing vacation, take a day trip to a nearby beach town. Naples and Marco Island are great locations for family trips and you won't pay much for transportation.

5. See the Slopes in Summer
This sounds silly but during their off-season ski resorts have tons of things to do that don't involve the snow. Lakes, ropes courses, golf and zip-lining are offered at many of these resorts. Beat the rush of people and peak prices at the beach and head to the mountains for a different kind of summer vacation.