Young african using digital tablet in airport lounge

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It’s mid-summer. That means you have a little less than two months to get that epic beach getaway in before you lose those summer Friday hours. But there’s just one obstacle: paying for the damn flight. Driving is cool, but a real change of scenery requires some air mileage and that can be pricey. But thin pockets don’t have to keep you grounded. A few strategic moves can transform you from a person who takes trips to a savvy traveler. Read on.

1 Go Steady

You get points for loyalty. Whether it’s a travel credit card, hotel or airline you get discounts and accrue credits the more you use them. Maximize your point accrual by always booking on the same travel card, selecting one or two airlines as your go-to’s and joining their flyer programs, and picking one top hotel chain as your primary residence during your travels.

2 Travel on Off Days

According to travel site Hopper.com, Tuesday evenings are the best times to book a flight. Generally speaking Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays also are cheaper days to travel, so booking your arrival and departures on those days will cut costs. Also, be open to starting trips midweek and ending them on weekends. It’s the best way to find travel deals on sites like Groupon with hotels, villas and resorts with higher star ratings that are looking to sell out their accommodations.

3 Do the Math

Overpacking can end up adding hundreds of dollars to your vacation costs each year—and you probably won’t even wear most of the extra crap you bring. Ditch the last minute packing. Simple hacks like making a quick list of your needs and rolling up clothes will ensure you lighten your load. Trips that are four days or less are made for carry-ons. If you’re traveling for longer stays consider buying travel cubes to organize your haul.

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