smart spending

6 tips to stretch your vacation dollars

Frugal summer
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Most Americans, despite the challenging economic times, still intend to participate in that annual rite of the season -- the summer vacation. Nearly six in 10 Americans plan to travel this summer, although about the same number are looking for ways to do so on the cheap, according to a recent American Express Spending and Saving Tracker survey.

On average, Americans will spend $1,200 per person for their summer travels, and nearly 70 percent of those with trips planned say they will drive, instead of fly, the survey found. One in four will be looking to offset higher gas costs by cutting back in other ways.

"Flexibility is key to saving money," says Lauren Sullivan, North American site editor for "If you are set on getting away one weekend, saying I want to go to any beach in Florida, instead of saying I want to go to Miami, is the way to find the best deal."

Once your itinerary is set, here are six ways to cut costs without compromising good times or maxing out your credit card.




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