Saving on your dream vacation

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Last Updated: Jan 2, 2016

Having an exotic adventure or a romantic interlude doesn’t have to be a budget buster this summer (or fall).

There are strategies you can use to save on every aspect of your vacation. From airfare to lodging to entertainment, you will be able to keep enough cash to come home with a few dollars in your pocket, or at least to upgrade to a more comfortable experience.

Here is how you can have that family re-union, romantic trip abroad for two or an adventure cruise and still don’t leave much dent on your wallet. We have also included destinations where you can get the best treat.

For a family get-together:
The trick to make a family get-together vacation cheap is to be a little quirky. Consider going for offbeat destinations and swapping hotel rooms for a vacation rental homes.

Rental homes are better because they provide enough space for everyone, with room to lounge, cook and relax, and even a separate bedroom for kids.

In summer, you can visit Colorado where fares and lodgings are affordable. And you can get a rental home near downtown Denver for only $350 per night. The homes can accommodate up to seven people, and includes a large kitchen and a garden.

If going offbeat isn’t appealing, you can visit Orlando where $795 per person can cover round-trip airfare, four nights at Disney, and a five-day theme park ticket.

Taking a romantic trip abroad for two:
If you want to avoid paying much on airfare and to avoid the crowds, you can fly to a place that is a little different. The best deal this year is Scandinavia. Airfare is cheap here even though food and entertainment aren’t.

Fares to Copenhagen from JFK International Airport recently started at $204 one-way. And once you are in Copenhagen you can visit serene places like the Tivoli amusement park, the second oldest park in the world.

You can also consider a 13-night excursion to Turkey. This was recently available for $1,989 at Gate 1, airfare inclusive. The excursion covered 4 nights in Istanbul, hotel, most meals, etc.

Visiting Latin America is also affordable. Fares from U.S. to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico are $516 round-trip on average. Mexico is a romantic city with warm climate and a very vibrant nightlife. And the average rate of lodging is $161 per night. You can also chose an adults-only resort, one child-free or an all-inclusive option.

Going on a volunteer vacation:
These are vacations in which you volunteer to help for a few days or several weeks and you may even qualify for a tax break.

Organizations such as Sierra Club and Habitat for Humanity offer these trips with varying types of destinations and service opportunities; but the more remote the destination the more you will pay.

To save on your trip, choose a trip that involves basic lodging and try to stay close home. For example, for a fall trip to Acadia National Park, Sierra Club charged $475 recently with a $50 deposit.

Volunteers have a very interesting experience; they sleep in tents and cook in groups.

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