(NewsUSA) – Summer travel can be rewarding, refreshing and exciting -; not to mention expensive.

But travelers can plan summer escapes that don’t strain their budgets. Discover Card offers these simple tips for thrifty vacationers:

– Sign up for e-mail alerts. Many airlines and travel services alert customers to new airline, cruise, hotel, rental car and vacation package prices via e-mail, which can be a great tool for aspiring weekend vacationers looking for last-minute deals.

– Visit during the off season. Rates drop dramatically when fewer tourists visit town. Weekday travelers avoiding the crowds can find themselves paying substantially less for hotels. Even upscale resorts often offer lower rates during the week, allowing luxury seekers to upgrade rooms without paying weekend prices.

Travelers should visit destinations during their off-peak seasons. For example, fewer people visit the Caribbean, Florida and Phoenix during the summer, so travelers who like the heat can find great deals.

– Shop around, even after you’ve made a reservation. Most hotel and car-rental cancellation policies only apply if travelers cancel their reservation within 24 to 48 hours of their scheduled check-in or pick-up time. As long as vacationers know companies’ cancellation policies, they can feel free to take advantage of last-minute deals at hotel and car rental services.

– Safeguard your vacation funds. Vacationers can carry cash, but they should also carry credit cards. Credit cards allow travelers to track their spending and can offer protection if the card is lost or stolen. They also prove an easy, safe way to book trips and cover on-the-road expenses.

Credit cards also help travelers save on future trips, since cards like the Discover Open Road Card allow cardmembers to earn extra rewards for gas and auto-maintenance purchases, while the Miles by Discover Card offers extra rewards for travel by air, bus or train.

– Consider renting a house or condominium. For vacations lasting a week or more, renting a house or a condo can prove cheaper than paying hotel rates. Houses and condos often contain kitchens, allowing travelers to save money by cooking their own meals.

For more tips on ways to make your money go further, visit www.discovercard.com/edge.

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