smart spending

5 tips to map out a frugal dream vacation

Identify your dream destination
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Cruise ship in Mediterranean sea

To find your dream destination, start by looking at the time and money constraints involved, says Andy Hayes, managing editor of Sharing Travel Experiences magazine. "If you only have a week, you probably don't want to trek through the Himalayas," he says.

However, with today's ease of travel, getting to nearly any global destination can be done in less than 24 hours.

Some dream vacations, like a Mediterranean cruise for the family, are pricey, but worth considering. "Most dream vacations require saving money for at least six months to a year," says Fuchs. Still, she recommends not going overboard. "You want pictures and memories to be your souvenirs, not debt," she says.

Next, hone in on the type of vacation you want. "Ask yourself, 'What experience do I really need now?'" says Hayes. Is it a beach for some R & R, an experience that will bring your family together or a place to be alone and disappear for a few days?

Once you've identified the criteria, narrow your destination choices. Your local library and bookstore should have travel books, and there's always Google.




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