One of my pleasures in life is going on vacations. Vacations are important because they help relieve stress and allow you to recuperate. When is the last time you went on a vacation? Do you make excuses why you cannot take a vacation? Start rewarding yourself by planning a fun vacation!

The dictionary defines vacation as: a period of time devoted to rest, travel, or recreation. Many people do not take vacations for two reasons -- time and money. That's why each January my husband and I sit down and decide what, when, where, and how we will vacation for that year. We make a list of places we want to travel to during the spring, summer, and fall. Then we estimate our cost for the entire year. Here are some suggestions that will help you plan and prepare for your next vacation and help you save money.

Shorten the trip -- Why not save some money and take an extended weekend? If you stay Sunday through Thursday typically the rates are less expensive, and they generally have better package deals.

Plan activities -- Most vacation spots come with a free pool, so use it! Prioritize your activities, and come up with the top three favorite places you want to tour or visit. Additionally, get free coupons for restaurants, tours, and attractions in the city you want to visit by going to

Stay with friends and family -- This is the best way to save money. However, do not overstay your welcome, and please do not plan to go stay with the same friends and family every year.

Save money on food -- If you are driving to your vacation spot, bring a cooler with snacks. Stay at a hotel that offers a continental breakfast and free snacks in the lobby.

Everyone should take a vacation at least one time a year. Vacations are needed to refresh you and give you the opportunity to think and regroup. Do not feel that a vacation is a burden on your time and wallet. Reward yourself, take a trip, but be sure to plan ahead!

Author's Bio: 

Sharman Lawson is a debt, money, financial and life coach. Also, she is a speaker and author of the book 12 Steps to Eliminate Debt Forever. Sharman Lawson and her husband paid off all their debt including their mortgage, in less than five years, on a combined income of less than $50,000 a year. Contact Sharman Lawson at 770.966.1639 for a FREE 30 minute no obligation consultation. Visit her website at