In case you haven't seen my post on Flying With Children: Tips and Tricks go check it out.
First decide how much you can afford for a trip, then after booking hotels, flights, rental cars or figuring out how much gas will cost you, budget the leftover money for what you will do, where you will eat, and what you will buy in your trip (specific restaurants, souvenirs, attractions, etc) These little things can add up a LOT and especially when you are in "vacation mode."
2. Use sky miles when you can.
Many people have credit cards to rack up the points for sky miles. One in particular is the Aeroplan card. I haven't ever used a card to get sky miles, but have many friends that do and rave about it!
3. Pack snacks and hit the local grocery store.
As I mentioned in #1, you can budget to eat out at restaurants- after all that is a lot of the fun when you are in new places, but just make sure you budget for it. We LOVE seafood so when we are on the Oregon Coast or in Florida we allow ourselves an extra amount for eating out. But, if we are in somewhere like Wyoming we stock up on groceries and eat in or take picnics where we go.
4. Get a smokin deal on a rental car.
Not sure if this will work most places, but what we usually do is get a great deal online on Hotwire or Orbitz or Expedia- doesn't really matter. Then, take the deal (on paper in hand) with you and at the airport see if any other rental car companies will give you a better deal. We have gotten them to do this twice the last 2 trips we went on. You usually don't pay anyone until you get there so you don't have to worry about getting refunded.
5. Hotwire a hotel.
By far Hotwire has the best prices I have seen. You can also try getting a Groupon, Amazon local, or another one of those deals if you want to know the hotel you will be staying at- a little bit of a safer bet ;)
all images from Jessica Hills Photography
Happy and safe travels to all of you this summer!!