Taking a vacation that leaves you debt-free is ideal. However, traveling is expensive, and vacation expenses can really add up over time. Many people end up piling up debt on their credit cards just to travel to exciting destinations or relax.

In order to plan a vacation this year without going into debt, you need to find ways to reduce your travel expenses. Consider these techniques for planning a debt-free trip:

1. Plan Ahead and Create a Budget

You should create a budget before booking flights and hotels. Decide on a realistic budget before booking flights and hotels. You should arrive at an amount that is attainable based on your income, or if you save enough by the time you leave to cover the entire cost of your trip.

Make sure your budget includes allowances for all expenses, such as hotels, flights, meals, gas, and other expenses. A budget trip won’t come with all the perks of a luxury trip, so you need to adjust your expectations accordingly. You may be able to save money by taking a camping trip or road trip.

2. Start Saving

You can start saving money each month to reach your goal once you have a budget. Even if you don’t have a set budget yet, starting to save now will help you build a vacation fund.

You may want to set up an automatic monthly deposit into a savings account just for your vacation. This way, you won’t forget to save and you won’t dip into your fund.

3. Look for All-Inclusive Packages

It’s hard to plan meals and entertainment ahead of time since you don’t know which restaurants you’ll be eating at or what activities you’ll be doing. All-inclusive cruises and resorts can save you money on these expenses. Although they may seem expensive up front, food and beverage packages actually save money in the long run. If inclusive trips sound appealing, be sure to calculate the cost.

4. Look for Bargains on Social Media

Follow travel deal websites and tourist groups online and on social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest. You’ll often find deals on their site you won’t find elsewhere.

5. Be Flexible on Travel Dates

If you only travel on weekends or fly at peak times, you could be missing great deals. Staying in hotels during the week and catching late or early flights can help reduce your travel costs.

6. Use Your Credit Card Perks

You shouldn’t reject using your credit card to book travel simply because you don’t want to accumulate a large credit card balance. If you pay with a credit card, you may receive benefits like trip cancellation insurance, rental car insurance and other perks.

It may be time to cash in your cash-back rewards or travel points if you’ve been saving them. You can use your rewards to reduce the cost of your travel.

Whenever you incur expenses, be sure to pay them off. If you don’t, you could end up paying interest on your purchases or incurring too much debt.

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