For decades, families all over the world have done two things to help save money for vacation: set aside a little each month in a special account, and collect all their pocket change in a jar during the year. You would be surprised how much you can save in just a few months or a year.

Another age-old technique is to round up a coupon book. The Visitors’ Center in most destinations offer a trove of discounts for hotels, restaurants and attractions; often you can pick up discount offers at these locations without spending a dime.

Many families visit places offering free admission such as the National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of History in Washington DC. The US National Park Service also has days of free admission; most of their parks don’t even charge admission. (Trivia fact: Only 127 of the 407 national parks usually charge admission.)

Hotel freebies can also save you money. Look for the ones with complimentary breakfast. Most hotels don’t charge for internet service, but if they do, consider finding one that doesn’t, and find out before you book. Some hotel chains offer programs that include kids stay-and-eat-free plans and complimentary refreshments for worn out parents.

How about getting rid of your excess “stuff” to fund a vacation? Yard-sales held on the 1st Saturday of the month tend to do better than those held at other times, and selling items via online sales sites can contribute nicely to a vacation fund.

The best way to save money? Regularly.

By far, the most effective way to save money is to have a plan that you can maintain. For decades Peoples Bank has been helping families save for vacation with automatic draft to savings accounts. Talk to any banker, or use our friendly online banking system to set up a funds transfer plan that works for you. (You can even apply for a savings account online to get started now!) Directing $15 every week into a savings account can add more than $780 in 12 months by the time you factor any interest. See our simple Savings Goal Calculator to get an idea of how a savings plan could work for you.

Saving money for more family fun on vacation doesn’t have to be a lot of work, and doesn’t cost a lot of money. The return on investment can be phenomenal!