Financing a summer vacation does not need to be a drama. With a little forward planning, there are various simple tips and strategies that you can put in place to maximize your pre-trip savings and avoid over-spending while relaxing during your vacation. After all, a vacation isn’t a true break if you have to return and worry about the debts you’ve incurred while being away! Firstly, start budgeting. Print off bank statements for the last six months to uncover trends on spending patterns and start to work out where your finances are going. You’ll be amazed at how that daily coffee habit or weekly magazine purchase treat adds up. Also look to where you have standing orders or regular payments set up for services or products you don’t need any more. Next, work out how much you’d ideally spend each month on socializing, food, eating out, bills, clothes etc for the non-fixed costs and then look for ways to cut back on your fixed bills and costs, such as loan repayments, store card bills, car bills, rent, utilities etc. Online services such as Mint allows you to combine all your accounts together so you can easily track your spending is more simpler and consolidated way. There are often better deals available and you can use the internet to find useful tools and tips on getting a better deal on insurances, loans and regular bills. A loan calculator is a handy tool for finding more competitive loan deals and understanding how different interest rates or ‘cost of financing’ will affect your monthly payments and the overall amount you pay back. There are various examples of loan calculators online if you are planning to take out a loan to finance a summer vacation. If you’re planning to book in advance to take advantage of an ‘early bird’ discount, then use your loan calculator to plan effectively and be sure you’ve put in place a savings plan to pay off the loan in the desired time period. Another option is saving for your vacation in advance and you should set up a separate savings account to do this. Find one with a decent rate of return and set up a monthly direct debit or regular payment on, or near, your regular pay day. This avoids money frittering away to maximize your vacation savings account. Help yourself by focusing on your goal. Cut down on random purchasing and expensive socializing and have friends over for pot luck meals, or movie nights. Head to the local sports center, cancel your expensive gym subscription in favor of walking or cycling. Look for vouchers and special discounts and don’t be too proud to use them if it means saving money for your vacation. To save money while being away, look for all inclusive resort deals off season to manage your budget. Consider vacationing inland or nearby, or even doing house swaps or visiting friends or family. Pool with friends to rent villas or combine travel costs, speak to others about ideas and tips on budget travel and sign up for savings schemes or special travel Co-op or bulk purchasing deals where possible.