Use the Internet to your advantage Whether you're analyzing your personal finances or checking out the best rental car deals for the drive, countless sites offer what you need. "Budgeting tool Mint.com allows you to monitor your expenses, set goals like saving for a vacation or paying down debt and helps you track progress toward those goals," says Trae Bodge, senior editor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. Once you've set aside money and it's time to book your travel, select packages that pair flights, lodging and car rental as opposed to booking a la carte, Bodge suggests. Online travel sites such as Priceline, Expedia and Travelocity indicate that consumers can save an average of anywhere from $200 to $500 by booking a customized vacation package versus booking elements such as flight and hotel separately. When it comes to saving money on a travel essential such as gas, Tom Gilmore, CEO of VacationHomeRentals.com, recommends GasBuddy.com.
"With gas prices on the rise, it's crucial to find the cheapest gas station possible. GasBuddy uses your location and finds the cheapest gas near you. It not only tells you the price of each gas type, but it even lets you know how many miles away the station is," Gilmore says.