How to Enjoy Summer Vacation Without Emptying Your Pockets

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Nobody wants to think about budgeting, automatic deposits or credit card austerity while they're on vacation — but it doesn't hurt.

With AAA quoting an average gas price of $2.75 per gallon across the U.S., travelers are paying nearly a dollar per gallon less than they were a year ago. That has AAA forecasting an uptick in summer travel and the National Retail Federation suggesting an increase in summer spending.

“Following a harsh winter, many Americans are trading in their snow boots for flip-flops and making plans to start the season with a vacation getaway,” says Marshall L. Doney, AAA president.

According to a survey released this month by Gallup, 57% of Americans. say lower gas prices are making a noticeable difference in their household finances. Of that group, 27% say lower gas prices are making a "big difference." Though 42% are using the extra money to pay down bills, 24% aren't shy about saying that they're spending those savings. Granted, gas prices were also low in the first quarter of the year — when GDP growth slid into negative territory — but big swaths of the U.S. aren't dealing with winter weather that's keeping them at home.

While kicking in a little extra to help the economy is nice and all, you're no help to anyone if your vacation leaves you mired in debt. With help from John Rosenfeld, head of everyday banking for Citizens Bank, and the folks at AAA, we've come up with the following eight tips that will give you a summer vacation without stretching your finances:

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