My grandmother always warned me never to pay full price. As I live on my own, I realize it’s not a frugal decision; it’s a necessity. And I apply the principle to more than buying clothes and pizza. Here are some tips to cut corners when planning to travel and while you’re vacationing.

[BE FLEXIBLE]

It’s cheaper to travel in the middle of the week than it is over the weekend. Additionally, every region has a peak season when prices are inflated as much as 60 percent. Travel during the off-season.

Certain family travel deals, like cruises, are pricey when school breaks for the season. So if you’re set on sailing the seas, book your cruise for May instead of June; February instead of March; December instead of January. It’ll be less expensive. The more options you have of altering your travel times, the more options you have for savings. Even better news, you’ll avoid the crowds.

[DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME]

Some things are best left to professionals. Your own contacts and knowledge cannot possibly be better and more varied than a travel agent’s. Not only do they take all the legwork out for you, but they’re often able to swing deals like complimentary tours, room upgrades and other amenities for free.

But keep in mind: Airlines have cut travel agent fees, so an increasing number have responded by charging fees directly to travelers.

[RESORT TO RESORTS]

All-inclusive resorts will save you in the long run, by providing one-stop shopping for eating, playtime and sleeping. Or not sleeping.

[RESEARCH THE HOT SPOTS]

Travel discounts are readily available for off-peak places and times. MSN.com says this year the hot spots are the Greek isles, French Polynesia, Alaska, Hawaii and St. Petersburg. Plan your vacation while the economy continues to get its footing. When travel picks up, so will price tags.

[BUY EARLY]

Book your flight a month out, at the latest. The longer you wait, the more expensive the rates become. Book a rental car online too during the low season for better fares, even if you’re not traveling until the peak season.

[GET FRIENDLY WITH THE NATIVES]

Get out of the touristy part of town and get a taste of the local culture. Ask around, look online. Restaurants, shops and even gasoline will be cheaper the farther away you get from Tourist Central.

[LET’S DO LUNCH]

If you’re reserving one meal to eat out on the town, make it lunch and pay about half of what you would for dinner. And you’ll avoid waiting an hour for a table.

[BRING THE CELL]

If you use your hotel long-distance service, which is up to $3 to $4 for each call, then you are a moron.

[SUBSCRIBE]

Sign up for Southwest Airlines‘ weekly newsletter, which details the discounted prices of all their flights. Subscribe to Travelocity or Expedia where you can book your flights, cars and hotels and also keep up with low prices with regular updates. You can take advantage of these sites for last-minute weekend jaunts as well as long-range planning.

Happy traveling. Send us a postcard.

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