Summer vacations are a time to relax, but they can be financially taxing as well. Between the time you may have to take off and the expenses related to travel, preparing for a vacation may be a year long ordeal. As a result, even well-planned vacations can end up costing a lot more than travelers have in mind. If you’re traveling or vacationing this summer, I’d like to share some tips for ensuring that your personal finance doesn’t go out the window.

Eat smart.

When you’re on vacation, it can be tempting to eat out every day. This can add up quickly, however. Consider planning your meals ahead of time, looking in the cities that you’re traveling to for cheap and healthy options. If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, you can even bring your own food!

Plan transportation.

If you don’t have access to your own car, you may very well need to rent one for the duration of your stay, or investigate public transportation options. For both of these, it’s critical to compare prices to discern the most cost-effective way to travel. You can even break up rentals, renting multiple cars over the course of the week, if you’ll be staying in multiple locations. Pay attention to factors like pickup locations, gas policies, and other things that may lead to an additional charge.

Look for free events.

The theme of this article is that a little research goes a long way. In an unfamiliar town, there are frequently free tours that don’t carry with them the expenses of paying to sightsee. Beyond this, there are often interesting local events in the summer that you can partake in for free or cheap. This has the added bonus of giving you a better sense of local culture than common tourist spots. Often, there are free walking tour agencies in major cities run by people more than happy to show outsiders around.

Tweak your plans.

This is especially valuable advice when it comes to flying. Flying at times such as the middle of the week can save a lot of money on airfare, and flying with stops can also save a great deal of money. Some sites will even inform you when certain airlines have sales. Generally, the further in advance you book, the better, though some believe that 50-60 days before the flight is the best time to buy. Regardless, booking last minute should be avoided.

Limit your souvenir spending.

I won’t fault anyone for wanting to buy souvenirs; they can be great mementos of a trip. However, they can both cost a lot of money in tourist-centric areas and take up valuable luggage space, which should be conserved when flying or taking a train trip. Be cognizant of the amount of space you have leftover in your luggage and plan accordingly.