Traveling by rail can be fun - and cheap, too. BargainBox.com, updated daily, offers an array of discounted train deals worldwide. Want to experience California? Consider a California Rail Pass, good for seven days over a 21-day period for $159. Kids ages 2 to 15 pay just $80.
12. Pack lightly
If you're flying this summer, be aware that a host of airlines, starting this month, began charging $25 for a second checked bag. Also, be certain to weigh your luggage after you pack. Many airlines charge fees as high as $100 for bags that weigh more than 50 pounds.
13. Mind your fuel
Not only are airfares on the rise, but, on top of that, airlines have tacked on fuel surcharges to offset higher fuel costs. Given that double-whammy, figure out whether it would be cheaper to drive to your destination.
To calculate the cost of gas, visit AAA at fuelcostcalculator.com. The online tool also provides current average gas prices throughout the planned route.
14. Call in your bets
When using your cell phone, it's usually cheaper to text-message. When in Europe, AAA suggests purchasing a calling card there. If you're going to be away for weeks at a time, consider getting a personal online number through Skype. Anyone can dial your number from a phone or cell phone and you pick up wherever you are in the world. Meanwhile, the caller only pays standard local rates, not international ones. Your cost: $18 for three months.
15. Don't pay to park
Check out ParkSleepFly.com if you're going to stay overnight near an airport before you fly. This worked out great for us when we were away recently for three weeks, because we didn't have to pay to park our car in the long-term lot. The hotel let us park our car there for free for two weeks, charging just $5 a day after that. Participating hotels also throw in complimentary 24-hour shuttle service to and from the airport.
16. Dig for discounts
If you're a repeat customer with a touring company, you may be entitled to discounts. Some companies will also send you freebies, such as toiletry kits, hand luggage and logo wear.
17. Count the hours
Car rentals by the day can be expensive. Some companies, including Hertz and Enterprise, now have hourly rentals in major U.S. cities. This may not be suitable for every traveler, but it's an option.
18. Navigate your way
If you do rent a car, having a built-in navigational system can save time and money - you won't have to waste fuel trying to find a place to turn around. Of course, rental cars with GPS tend to cost more, so bringing your own adds to the savings.
19. Fill up midweek
With gasoline prices at a premium, AAA suggests buying gas at independent stations and during midweek, when it's cheaper. Avoid stations on highways or near highway exits and airports. Also, ask your hotel if it's offering gas rebates or prepaid gasoline cards. If you do take a road trip, you'll want to find the best gas prices. Online, Mapquest and GasBuddy will pull up a list of stations, ranked by price.
20. Branch out
Low-cost air carriers are huge in Europe right now, criss-crossing the region with thousands of routes. If you're going to be in, say, London and want to hop over to Barcelona, it's worth checking out. Right now, one-way tickets on Ryanair from London to several dozen European cities start at just five pounds, about $10, including fees and taxes. More than 40 budget carriers list their fares on flycheapo.com or you can go directly to the carrier's Web site.
The average travel budget for two adults traveling together in the United States is $244 per day for lodging and meals, according to the 2008 edition of AAA's Annual Vacation Costs Survey.
The survey indicates that the average cost for lodging in the country is $164 per night, based on double occupancy. For two adults traveling and dining together, AAA Mid-Atlantic travel experts recommend budgeting a minimum of $80 a day for meals. The cost is based on dining at full-service restaurants and does not include tips or beverages.
The most economical cities for vacationers this summer? Tulsa, Okla., and Albuquerque, N.M., each with an estimated daily food and lodging cost of $179. In Maryland, the average price for meals and lodging is roughly $258 a day, $14 above the national average.
Total Marylanders projected to travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day holiday: 713,520, a 0.9 percent decrease over last year
Total projected to drive: 596,098, a 0.7 percent decrease
Total projected to fly: 83,091, a 1.2 percent decrease
Total projected to travel by train, bus or other mode of transportation: 34,311, a 3 percent decrease
Source: AAA Mid-Atlantic