8 Tips for a Financially Sane Vacation

Have you taken your summer vacation yet? Or has your vacation taken you?

Some people travel on autopilot. You cart the kids off to Disneyland because you’re supposed to? Or, you fly to Europe because everyone says you should see Paris before you die.

But what do you want?

“Most of us don’t take the time to think about what would make us happier — what kind of vacation would be relaxing, would recharge our batteries, would be a great time with family,” says Donna Skeels Cygan, a Certified Financial Planner and author of “The Joy of Financial Security.”

Cygan suggests having a “values talk” with your spouse and/or family before planning a vacation. Clarify what everyone expects: Adventure? Relaxation? Roller coasters?

The same holds true for singles. Ask yourself what kind of vacation fits your personality instead of listening to everyone else’s preferences.

The trip you want could be well within reach. Whether it’s a staycation or a trip to Sicily, use these tips to cut costs.

1. Book smart when flying or renting a car

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There is no need to pay full freight when you fly, thanks to websites like TripAdvisor, Expedia and CheapOair.

You also can learn more about cutting flight costs by reading “12 Ways to Land Cheaper Airfare.”

Plan to rent a car? Use discount travel websites, and check your auto insurance to see if you can decline additional coverage on the rental car.

If you need a vehicle for just a day or two and the quoted rate is exorbitant, rent a pickup from U-Haul for $19.95 a day.

A car-sharing service like CityCarShare will let you rent for only a few hours. Some rental agencies, including Enterprise and Hertz, also have gotten into the sharing business.

For more tips on getting around, see “On Your Dream Trip? You Don’t Need a Rental Car.”

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