These money-saving travel tips will let you vacation with friends and stick to your budget

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Getting old friends back together to share a vacation is a great way to catch up and build new memories. However refreshing these vacations may be, they can also get costly. Airfare, lodging, dining out and all of the extras can add up to thousands of dollars.

With some simple tips – and a bit of research – you can trim costs from each part of the trip. First, get your financial house in order. That means drafting a travel budget. Know how much you can spend and hold yourself to that. This will keep you focused while planning. After that, here’s how to plan a budget-friendly vacation with faraway friends.

1. Tinker with timing

Coordinating schedules and itineraries is tough. If you and your friends stay flexible, though, you can book a cheaper vacation and avoid crowds. Travel in “shoulder” seasons: Spring break, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve may seem like no-brainer opportunities. But these busy travel seasons can cost you hundreds of dollars more for flights and lodging.

2. Find a middle ground – literally

For plans with friends scattered across the country, try meeting at an airline hub city. That almost guarantees you’ll be able to get there with only one flight. And you likely will be able to find affordable fares, given the volume of air traffic.

3. Price compare

Online shopping makes trip planning more accessible and affordable, but it’s not always the best deal. Compare prices on assembling the trip yourself, using a travel adviser itinerary and package deals.

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