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9 Tips for a Stress-Free Summer Holiday

Update Date: Jul 26, 2013 01:55 PM EDT
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A summer vacation is supposed to reinvigorate, renew and enhance your life. All too often, however, you end up stressing over the details, from your itinerary to corralling your friends and family together. And what if a little (or big) emergency pops up? Oy vey.

More than 140 million Americans are planning on taking a vacation this summer, according to USA Today. If you're one of them, follow these tips to help ensure a smooth, relaxing getaway.

1. Ask for Price Matching on Your Airline Tickets

It's happened to everyone—you wait for what you hope is the lowest price, book your ticket, and then it's dropped by the next day. Instead of going through the lost money, talk to the airline. You'll be surprised at what they can do for you.

2. Or, Hit the Road

For vacations that are relatively nearby, you may want to drive instead of dealing with plane tickets for your entire family. This way, you won't have to rent a car when you reach your destination. Just make sure you won't go insane with everyone in the car, though.

3. Protect Against Theft

Vacationers are among the most-targeted groups by identity thieves. Identity theft is a major pain in the best of times, but when you want to focus on a vacation, it's a nightmare. Services such as Lifelock ID theft protection help protect you while on vacation, but it's also good to take a proactive role in keeping yourself and your identity safe. Always keep your credit cards on you or in a hotel safe. Avoid logging into bank websites on hotel provided or public Wi-Fi networks. If you have to log into your bank, use a tethered Internet connection from your mobile phone or log on directly using your mobile phone's data plan.

4. Borrow That Charger

If you misplace your standard phone charger, don't panic or run to the electronics store. People are constantly forgetting their chargers at hotels, so just ask at the front desk if you can use one.

5. Book in a Bundle

Book vacations in a bundle, if possible. When you combine your hotel, airfare and car rental in one package, you often get a great discount. Of course, make sure that you price out everything individually as well, just to make sure that you aren't getting ripped off.

6. Look Into Rentals

There are alternatives to hotels, especially if you're going on a two-week or longer vacation. Instead of paying by the night, look into short-term apartment rentals or time-share properties. You'll get a better long-term deal, they're furnished, and you're typically going to have a lot more room to spread out.

7. Bring Your Own Food

While you don't want to have to cook all your meals while you're on vacation, having snacks and other quick food around helps keep everyone in high spirits. Nothing dampens a mood like low blood sugar and hungry kids.

8. Sign up for All the Rewards Programs You Can

And make use of the promotions and points. This works best if you focus entirely on a specific airline or hotel chain. Go with the largest companies, so you know you'll always find a hotel in the city you want to visit.

9. Steer Clear of Holidays

If you really want to take out the stress and worry (and some added costs) don't do the popular holiday times. This goes for any time of year. You're going to deal with overbooked flights and packed hotels, and all the popular vacation spots are overrun by tourists. That's enough to make everyone's stress level rise.

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