Planning ahead could translate into big savings on your travel

If you haven’t planned a summer vacation, then now is the time to start. Planning ahead could translate into big savings. As we all know, last minute travel can be very expensive. Following are a few tips to plan your perfect trip without stretching out your wallet.

Do your homework: Search for travel deals on the Internet. There are several search engines that are great resources for discounted flights, hotels, and tours. Sign up with them to receive alerts and begin receiving great travel offers. In addition, check out travel books at your local library where you can find a wealth of information for free.

Statewide travel: If staying in Florida, check discounts available to Florida residents. Several amusement parks in the state offer discounted rates. If you are member of AAA, inquire about special rates.

Lodging: Another way to save money on hotel stays for your vacation is by staying farther out from a city center or in a suburb near the town you’re visiting. You also can look into getting a suite with rollaway beds instead of multiple rooms for the whole family to save you big money on your hotel stay.

Meals: Dining costs can go way up when you are on vacation because you are eating out for every meal. When you vacation on a budget, never leave food as something you will figure out as you walk around. You almost always end up exceeding your budget.

Book a hotel room that includes breakfast and has a refrigerator. Find a local grocery store and purchase water, sodas, snacks, cold cuts, bread and bag your lunch. You will save lots of money and instead of eating three meals out during the day, opt for just one.

Entertainment and activities: Once you have your travel, hotel, and food arranged all that is left is to plan what you’re going to do on those vacation days. Again, start putting a plan in place ahead of time. Make sure to check prices, plan activities that don’t cost you an arm and a leg. Indulge in free options like visiting parks or beaches, or just take a walk through the town. Also check the local papers to see if there are any free events like art shows, festivals, and even concerts.

Library Museum Pass Program: If your purse strings don’t allow for travel on planes or trains, there are plenty of free activities here in Miami-Dade County. The Miami-Dade Public Library System offers patrons free admission for a family of four to the Deering Estate at Cutler, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Fruit and Spice Park, HistoryMiami, Miami Art Museum, Miami Children’s Museum, Miami Science Museum, and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Just visit your nearest branch library, see staff for availability and use your library card to check out a museum pass.

If you are ready for a summer vacation, then there is no time like the present to plan ahead. Whatever destination you decide on, just remember one very important thing, be safe.

For more consumer tips, or to check the complaint history of a company, file a complaint or ask consumer-related questions, visit the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection website at or call 305- 375-3677.

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