Cheap Hotel Reservation – Enjoy Incredible Online Hotel Deals by Booking Online

Astronomical hotel costs are often a headache for many budget travelers who may want to reduce hotel spending so that they can concentrate their expenditure on other more important aspects of their trip. So is there a guaranteed way to enjoy hotel savings? Yes there certainly is. Cheap hotel reservation is now a possibility with the advent of the Internet, which will help you snag your ideal hotel for a much lower rate than if you had booked over the phone.

Information about hotels in your chosen destination is widely available online, meaning that we now hold the power to book hotels at low rates that might not have previously existed. This can be attributed to the ubiquity of cheap hotel discounts on the Internet that allow us to save on our hotel bookings like never before. Thus, budgeting for our entire trip is now much less of a headache, especially since less spending on our hotels is virtually guaranteed though online booking.

Making an Internet hotel booking has never been more attractive, with a mind-boggling range of accommodation in your chosen locale or district available for booking, including hotels which you may not be able to afford previously. Hotel aggregator websites are thus a hotbed of information regarding these various hotels’ specific locations, amenities, services and most of all, the kinds of discounted deals you can get to enjoy.

Before comparing the rates between hotels, you might want to first take a look at the section of the website marked “deals”, where you can find the latest limited time promotions, deals and offers for various hotels, including any last minute promotions. These promotions are especially common when hotels are unable to fill up their rooms during a less busy travel season.

By taking advantage of such heavily discounted rates, you might even manage to book a luxury hotel at a rate that is closer to that of mid-ranged hotels. Hence, the best value for your hotels can be easily achieved by booking online, as you will often be able to snag hotels with excellent offerings at relatively low rates.

When you book your accommodation online, peace of mind is a given as you would have settled your hotel arrangements and costs in advance, especially if you are assured instant confirmation of your booking. By taking care of this part of your travel planning, you can now turn your attention to budgeting for the remaining expenses for your trip.

However, do make sure that you are really getting your money’s worth in your hotel booking by taking into account possible hidden costs such as parking fees, Internet costs and even additional room taxes which may result in higher than expected hotel expenditure. You should keep these costs at the back of your mind when deciding if an online hotel deal is really worth it.

Placing a cheap hotel reservation is now a reality, thanks to the efficiency of the Internet which allows travelers to save time and money when making hotel bookings online. They can also rest assured that their credit card information is safe, as hotel booking websites make use of secure transaction gateways which is safer than revealing such information over the phone. Moreover, travelers are better informed when making their hotel booking decisions and choosing the best hotel deals to go for.

8 Rules Of Christmas: Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

First of all, before anything else is said, let’s agree on a couple of things.

Sharing good times with friends and family is part of what the holiday season is all about. When these groups get together, it is often in the presence of delicious, scrumptious food. This food tends to be available for snacking all day. Personally, I would immediately call the Vatican and nominate anyone for sainthood who could truly enjoy all the festivities and be awash in the total ambiance of all the season inspires while ignoring the lavish plates of goodies while walking around munching on a stick of celery.

Oh yeah! You’re going to sample Aunt Millie’s mincemeat pie, Uncle Bob’s specially prepared fried turkey, and probably a glass of Alka-Seltzer or something similar.

Unfortunately, I am here to remind you of a few things; you are on a diet, you want to lose weight, all that stuff that is so tempting is fattening, and this is the hardest time of the year to be good. So, let’s just pick up on a few rules to help you get through the season.

8 Rules For Healthy Holiday Eating:

Before we get started, I want you to get comfortable, so put some turkey on your plate, get some of that great dressing (don’t forget the cranberry sauce), fight Cousin Ed for some of that green bean casserole my niece, Sharon, makes so well, and tell Grandma to save a piece of pie for you. Have a seat, relax, enjoy your meal (while balancing a soggy paper plate on your knee) and I will give you the rules to help you survive the season.

1. Forgive yourself in advance and give yourself permission to have a good time:

Look, this stuff isn’t poison! You didn’t take 10 years off your life just because you ate more than you should have…and then went back for seconds. You are only human, and you are here to have a good time! One of the reasons you want to lose weight, or keep it down, is so that you can enjoy life, and this is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. So, as they say, live a little. Whatever happens over the next few days will not kill you, and whatever damage you do manage to do can be rectified.

2. It’s just a couple of days:

Okay, for some families, it may be a couple of weeks…twice…Thanksgiving and Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza. Whatever it is for you, it is finite, it WILL end, and it is mainly limited to a certain time of the year. Who you are in terms of health, fitness, and weight loss is determined by the overall accomplishments of the year, not by a few weeks in the fall.

3. Stay with your program:

You will definitely minimize the effects of all the dinners, cookies, and snacks if you can still get in your walks, aerobics, weight training, or whatever else you have been doing. During the holiday season, it can be difficult to get everything done the same as in the rest of the year, but two days of exercise Thanksgiving week, while not as good as three or five, is still better than none. Simply knowing you have not abandoned your plan will help you get over any depression you might have because of your holiday eating, and will help reduce any negative effects from all the delicious, gooey calories you have “accidentally” consumed. If you cannot stay on a formal program, squeeze in a walk, even if it is a high-speed shopping trip through the mall. By the way, this is the reason I love yoga. When everything’s done, I can retire to my bedroom and not only get the physical benefits of the yoga session, but I relieve some of the stress I may have built up during the day. That helps with the eating too.

4. Remain in touch with reality:

You will hear people speak of “mindful eating”. Be aware of what you are doing. Have you ever heard someone say, “That is so good, I just have to have some more.”? Of course, YOU and I never say things like that! Well, the truth is that you DON’T have to have some more, and, if you do, it doesn’t need to be right now. Just because the food is there right now doesn’t mean it has to be eaten right now. You know what’s good for you and what isn’t. One piece of pie today is not going to kill you or destroy your weight loss resolution, but do you have to have that pie? Isn’t there a healthier treat you could have, or could you just wait until the meal has settled, or after you take a walk to rev up your metabolism and burn off some of what you already ate? Why not take a piece home with you and have it as a treat for later…when you aren’t as full as a tick?

5. Food is not love:

Many people tend to equate food and eating with love. You cannot change the others, but you can change your own attitude. Refusing seconds of Grandma’s turkey does not mean you don’t love her. If she is hurt because you normally stuff yourself and this year you’re not doing her food “justice”, just say that you are full right now but will have more later. Take control of YOUR life. Others will have to take control of their own.

6. If you are the cook:

Choose healthy dishes prepared in a healthy manner. If you have found a new diet-friendly food that you enjoy, share that with others. This will give you one more healthy dish on the groaning board to select your own meal from.

7. Alcohol:

If you enjoy wine, beer, egg nog like my Uncle Wilbur liked, or other drinks containing alcohol, just slow down and cut back. Try slipping in a glass of water between drinks. Drinks containing alcohol are sneaky calories. They do nothing for you nutritionally, but they do have a lot of calories. A few drinks with friends can give you more calories than a Big Mac…and you probably have these drinks while snacking or eating a meal! Oh well! At least if you are a beer drinker, you can try some light beers. It will give you an excuse to sample.

8. Be happy to be where you are, doing what you are doing, with the people you love:

If you fall head over heels off the diet wagon, have fun. What you do throughout the year will have more effect on your weight and health than what happens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Tips For Successful Day Hiking Trips

Hiking, backpacking, trails, hiking boots, outdoors, wildlife, flora, fauna, GPS, compass, water, snacks

Individuals, couples, and families can take day hiking trips, a perfect opportunity to get away for quality time and fun but without spending a fortune. Taking a few precautions will ensure a fun and safe trip.

Although hiking for a week would be wonderful, with the current economy, there are a growing number of people who will head out and spend a full day doing nothing but hiking. In addition to being fun, hiking is great exercise and a wonderful way to clear the mind in the beautiful outdoors. When trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, day hiking trips are an ideal solution.

The following are helpful tips for a successful trip, getting the most from all day hiking trips.

Heading out Early

Start by heading out early. The earlier someone can start day hiking trips the more time there is to enjoy the outdoors. While it might seem early, if a person or persons can get on the trail at 4:00 am, they will benefit in a number of ways.

For one, there would be the chance to reach further trails, see wildlife that might not be out later in the day, have the opportunity to watch the rising of the sun, and avoid heavy crowds on popular trails. For high altitudes, leaving early would get the person to the summit by 11:00 am, allowing plenty of time to explore and enjoy the beautiful views before heading back down.

Keep it Simple

An important tip for day hiking trips is to keep backpacks light and simple. Because this is only a day trip, people need to carry only what is absolutely necessary to include food, clothing, flashlight, GPS or compass, water, and first-aid items. The light load will make hiking the trails easier, which allows people to venture out onto more difficult trails.

Keeping a Pace

Even though day hiking trips are for a single day, people need to find a good pace and then keep to it. This does not have to be high speed but just consistent. A common problem found with many beginner hikers is going fast and then having to rest often. Instead, the individual will enjoy the adventure far more by moving at a consistent pace and making fewer stops.

Food Items and Water

For day hiking trips, some food will need to be taken but this should be healthy, light, and food that increases energy. Great options include dried fruit, trail mix, health bars, and even a good, old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course, water is key for day hiking trips or any trips.

One option for people who want to climb high during day hiking trips but who do not want to carry an abundance of weight, they can take with them yellow flags and extra bottles. Then, as they make their way up the trail, they can place bottles along the trail with yellow flag markers. That way, when they come back down, they do not have the extra weight but still have ample water.

Where to Get the Money for Vacation – Money for Vacation Tips

Many times in the past we have had a dilemma, where to get the money for vacation. We all work very hard each day and a vacation, in my opinion, is something everyone should take at least every couple years.

Due to various things going on in your personal lives, sometimes it’s hard to find money for vacation so you can do all the things you need and want to do on your trip.

Here we have listed some tips and places to come up with funds for your travel plans. Many of us don’t have the problem of coming up with funds, but for the many that do, this article will help you brainstorm a list of ways to put money into the pot.

**Start saving early. Many times people who know they are going to be going on vacation next year will begin saving now, or if you plan on taking a major trip in the future, why not put a little away here and there. This isn’t always an option, but if you had to skip your vacation this year, why not start now – look for travel deals now, figure out your destination, sign up for blogs and feeds, and begin your planning now.

**Use your tax refund. Many Americans every year have the ability to utilize their income tax refunds for a number of purposes. If you are someone who has overpaid the government and get some of that back, this is always an option.

**Set up a vacation fund. Pay yourself first and put some of that into a vacation pot that you don’t touch until your trip. Each year, my parents will do this by putting loose coins into a bank, and by the time their trip comes they have enough money for gas, food, extra fun stuff they wouldn’t have had.

**Cut back on other daily items. Stop buying that $4 cup of coffee everyday. Cut back on dining out at sit down restaurants. Focus on a budget where you can penny pinch a bit. It’s a small price to pay to enjoy your ultimate vacation when otherwise you may not be able to go.

**Do small weekend trips throughout the year. Instead of a week long vacation in some remote location, why not go somewhere closer for a weekend getaway. Camping is great, lake trips, beach trips, and other spots that you can make a quick drive to and just get away for a few days.

**Moonlight or pick up some extra income. I’m sure the last thing you want to do is work more right? Well, due to my Florida website, I make enough extra money that it pays for extras in our lives like home repairs, dining out, and vacations. It has been a tremendous help.

**Use credit cards, but use them wisely. I hesitate to mention this one because many people will whip out their plastics for much of their trip. This isn’t the best way to find money for vacation, but it can supplement a number of things. Using debt to pay for things like vacation can be a downward cycle you don’t want to start, so be careful.

**Eat intelligently while on vacation. We typically take one meal out per day and eat the rest in. This saves us a fortune and we still get to enjoy the tasty eats around our destination of choice.

**Set up a goal. Somehow when you commit to something and put a plan together, things tend to work in your favor. If you want something to happen you can make it happen. Experts call it the “law of attraction” and it seems to work, so why not!

**Be a smart travel planner. Searching intelligently and using the vast resources of the Internet will ultimately find you better deals. When you add up car rentals, gas, hotels, airfare, things to do, etc. they get expensive quickly. They can also add up a lot of savings if you shop around and find good deals while not sacrificing a great vacation.

Travel lovers, this is just a start. Use your creativity and figure out some ways to find money for vacation if you are on a budget. We all need some time away from time to time so do whatever you need to do to make your trip happen.

Holiday Safety

It seems like the Christmas shopping season starts earlier every year, and this year is no exception. Here we are at the end of October and the stores already have their Christmas stuff out. You are starting to see more TV commercials telling to you start shopping now to avoid the rush.

As the weeks toward the Holidays go by you will start to hear reports of people getting robbed or their cars getting broken into. You can avoid all of this by shopping online. Most of us still like to get into the Holiday spirit by going shopping and touching the merchandise, then when you spot something you get the satisfaction that you have it now!

So when shopping there are some things that you can do that will keep you safer:

  • Park near the parking lot lights if you will be in the store at night
  • Park as close to the store as possible
  • Never leave anything of value visible in your car and make sure that you lock it
  • Go back and forth to your vehicle putting your bags in the trunk, do not carry out two handfuls of bags
  • When approaching your car be aware of your surroundings, if something or someone makes you feel unsafe, go back into the store and ask for help
  • Approach your vehicle from the back toward the front and look in the rear seat area
  • Once in your car “Lock The Door”

I think that most of this is just common sense; however, in the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season we sometimes forget the very basis of personal safety.

When talking about Holiday safety we need to mention the safety of your credit cards. I would not recommend anyone shop with a debit card. If lost or stolen the bad guys have direct access to your bank account. Credit cards are much more secure, you just have to be mindful of the money you run up on those credit cards. Remember that cash is always king.

When using your credit card try to keep it in your direct sight when giving it to the store clerk. Make sure you have it before leaving the counter. If you carry a purse carry it across your shoulder and make sure that it is closed and carry it so that the purse is in front not behind you. If you carry a wallet it should be in your front pocket.

Travel Tips & Advice

Notify Family, Friends and Relatives

Before leaving on holiday, make sure that you give all travel information to your family and close friends. If anything should happen while travelling, multiple people know where you are and have a better chance of getting a hold of you and others who might need to reach you. Prepare photocopies of your passport, airline tickets, accommodation booking form. It might also help if you leave telephone numbers of where you are stopping just in case anyone needs to get in touch with you urgently.

Do you have a valid Visa and/or passport?

ALWAYS check your passport and ensure that you renew your visa or apply for one before departing. Make sure your passport does not expire within 6 months of your date of travel. A large majority of countries insist that your passport be valid for at least that time period or a year. Make a copy, in case you lose it while on vacation, you can send the copy to your Embassy.

E111 Medical form.

Still thousands of UK holidaymakers go on holiday without getting a signed E111 form from your local medical practitioner. This form is free and means that whilst you are in a country which is a member of the European community you will receive free or subsidised medical treatment. Be warned through this does not mean you are covered for return flights, transfers from destination to hospital, and pharmacy costs.

Travel Insurance

Millions of holidaymakers worldwide go on holiday WITHOUT travel insurance. How crazy can you people be, for the sake of completing a quick form, or telephone conversation you can be covered for any event whilst on holiday. It is so important that people get back in to the habit of buying travel insurance. The decline in holidaymakers taking out insurance is due to the increase in independent travelling, many UK travel agents insisted that you took out travel insurance as part of your booking.

Confirm your Reservations

Be sure your airline tickets and vacation rental booking is confirmed, otherwise you may have an unpleasant experience if the owners of the property are out of the country and have not left the keys. Visit the airport website, or if you are in the UK look on ceefax, or teletext for the latest flight departures and arrivals from UK airports to find if your plane is on time, back that up with a telephone conversation with the airline.

Location of the Vacation Rental

When making your booking, you may want to find out if the property is located near a hospital, chemist, police station etc. These services are great in an emergency, and it’s always good to know your way around before you arrive. You will find that most owners will have some literature about local doctors, chemists etc you never know what may happen whilst on holiday.

Buy a Destination Guide / Language dictionary.

Get yourself some travel books to know all the best spots, cheapest restaurants, best food, and hundreds of insights about your destination. You may want to write down some notes from the travel book relevant to the area you are visiting rather than taking the entire book with you to cut down on weight. Most importantly get a language translation dictionary and carry it with you. Learn a few essential terms in the native language of the country you are travelling to. People will appreciate and be a lot more helpful if you at least make an effort, it can also help you in an emergency.

Luggage Advice

Place photocopies of your identification in your luggage to help your airline or cruise ship to return it if lost while travelling. Another good idea is to get some masking, insulation tape or stickers and put it all over the suitcase, the worst start to a holiday would be to loose your luggage or get it taken by accident because its identical to another holidaymakers. Use your own padlocks instead of the padlocks supplied with suitcases. It is usually safer. Remember to keep the key(s) in your carry-on luggage., don’t do what I did and leave the keys in the suitcase!

Photocopy your Identifying Documents

Photocopy all documents and cards and store it in a secret place in your suitcase. If your wallet is ever stolen, you will know exactly what you have lost and will have all the telephone numbers to call to cancel credit cards and the credit card numbers, etc. at your fingertips. Or instead of photocopying all your important documents and carrying them with you, you can scan everything and email the images to your email account or family and friends as attachments.

Airport Transfers

Don’t forget to try and arrange your transfer to the vacation property before you set off. Worse thing that can happen is that it’s 11pm, and there’s no buses, and you have to pay a fortune for a hour drive to your accommodation. Most owners will have a contact for airport transfers, or there own management company will pick you up, there’s a charge, but it’s certainly cheaper than local taxi companies… it’s also safer.

Cash Safety.

Think of this scenario. You’ve just got to your hotel, and you see a nice bar over the road, you go to your pocket to get all of your foreign currency, and it’s not there! Your in a strange country, with a strange language and it’s your first day on a holiday you’ve been paying for all year. Please remember travellers cheques, order them before you go and you will not be in this scenario.

This article is not written to scare you but to put your mind on the important issues you will face when booking and organising your next vacation rental holiday. The best holidays I have had are ones where I have organised them myself.

Have fun.. but more importantly… BE SAFE!

World Ventures Dream Trips – Good Deal Or a Joke?

World Ventures is a travel company that offers “dream trips” to people looking to experience travel. They also provide an income opportunity to people looking to start a travel business. The company is controversial, and many have questioned whether it is a legit opportunity. We blow away the smoke and review what this business is all about.

World Ventures – At A Glance

As a travel company, world ventures provides vacations (called “dream trips”) to clients. They book these trips online, and by doing so, claim to have “combined the power of the Internet with network marketing”.

The company was started by Wayne Nugent and Mike Azcue, who have ties to another company called GTT. World Ventures launched December 10, 2005, and claims to generate sales of just under $150,000,000 in revenue, and it costs $400 to join the company.

World Ventures Dream Trips – A Closer Look

The first controversy starts with the connection of the owners to GTT. This company has come under significant criticism for it’s marketing practices. The executive board has some interesting titles as well, such as “Chief Strategy Officer” and “Chief Visionary Officer”. How unique.

The Bottom Line

The real issue with the company is the marketing that is advocated and taught. The old MLM model of recruiting “friends and family” is still alive and well there, and for all the lip-service, they do not encourage the use of the Internet (beyond email) to grow your business. They do have pretty graphics and fancy java-script on their website, but their marketing strategies are strongly rooted in the 1950’s.

To sum up, this COULD be a good opportunity is a marketer that had skills stepped in and applied those skills. The average person looking to cash in on the travel industry will find some significant lacking in the actual marketing system that drives sales.

5 Tips For Traveling to Canada

Canada can be a great vacation destination, with its beautiful vistas, wild animals, gorgeous winding roads, and cosmopolitan cities. Even if you travel to Canada on a regular basis, the out this list of five travel tips to Canada.

Tip #1: Bring a Good Travel Guide to Canada

When you travel to any new place, it’s important to carry a good travel guide. Canada is no exception. You can print out a travel guide on line, or you can purchase a well-know travel guide for Canada, such as Lonely Planet.

A good travel guide will give you insight into where to stay, shop, eat, and drive. Plus, it will give you lots of tips about things to do, great night life, and activities that are fun for the whole family. Invest in a good travel guide for Canada, and you won’t be sorry.

Tip #2: Think About the Climate

Before you pack for your travel to Canada, don’t forget to consider the weather. If you’re going to the Maritime Provinces, remember that they tend to be a bit more humid than the provinces in the west. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, you can expect weather that hovers around freezing in winter and is temperate in the summer.

If you are traveling to Canada and staying the mountain areas, you can expect to see a lot of variation in temperature. Layering clothing is helpful in these regions. Conversely, the areas of Vancouver and Victoria are much more temperate and don’t often see freezing temperatures.

Tip # 3: Plan for the Border Crossing

Travel to Canada has gotten a lot more complicated in recent years, as new restrictions on border entry have been imposed. The documentation requirements for travel to Canada are in a constant state of change, so it’s important to check into these requirements before you leave.

For the most up-to-date information on travel to Canada from the US, go to the US Department of State Website.

Tip #4: Understand the Currency

One of the most important travel tips for Canada is the importance of understanding the currency before you go. Canada uses the Canadian dollar, although many border locations will accept American dollars as well. It’s wise to carry traveler’s checks in the Canadian dollar, since they are accepted almost everywhere.

The best exchange rate for currency and traveler’s checks is at the Canadian chartered banks. There are also many ATMs in Canada.

Tip #4: Don’t Forget About the Sales Tax

Like the US, the Canadian government has a sales tax for goods and services. Don’t forget about this tax when planning expenses when you travel to Canada.

Sales tax rates depend on the province. Current sales tax rates for the provinces are as follows:

* No sales tax in Alberta, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, or the Yukon

* 5% sales tax in Saskatchewan

* 7% sales tax in Manitoba and British Columbia

* 7.5% sales tax in Quebec

* 8% sales tax in Ontario

* 10% sales tax on Prince Edward Island

* 13% harmonized sales tax in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia

Tip #5: Tips On Tipping

Another important tip about Travel Guide to Canada [] is to understand the way Canadians handle gratuities. Tips are not usually included in restaurant bills. Standard practice is to tip 12% to 15% for good service.

For travel guides in Canada, as well as for tour bus drivers, an acceptable tip is $1 to $2 per day for each person.

Your Magaluf Holiday – Tips Before You Book

It’s nearly always sunny in Magaluf, which is located on the Spanish Island of Majorca – and that means you can enjoy the resort every day of your stay. This is the place where welcoming guests and knowing what they want has been practiced for more than a half century, resulting in hospitality that is beyond compare.

Imagine the cleanest, white sand beaches, warm, sunny days 300 days out of the year. Picture clear, turquoise water and entertainment options that span from a non-stop, sizzling nightlife to a multitude of choices for wholesome family fun. You’ve just imagined your holiday in Magaluf.

Whether you’re under 25 and with friends, a little older and with your spouse and children – or even a well-seasoned traveller enjoying your second wind – a Magaluf holiday is one you will never forget and will definitely repeat.

Just 15 miles from Palma Airport, Magaluf is easy to get to by taxi, rental car or bus. When you arrive there are a variety of excellent hotels and apartments available to suit every taste and budget.

Your only challenge will be trying to choose between the seemingly never-ending assortment of things you can do while a guest in Magaluf. There are the nearby water parks; Marineland, Aqualand and Western Water Park – that provide amusement for those of every age. Banana boat rides, a pirate adventure show, a bungee rocket for true thrill seekers, or go-kart racing, kite flying, horseback riding, scuba diving, wind surfing and jet skiing – are all just a few of the options that will be available to you in Magaluf.

If it’s a scorching nightlife you’re after, you’ll find Magaluf’s is addictive. Just start your evening at the Punta Ballena Strip, for everything from dance clubs to rave clubs, cabarets to a casino – and an endless selection of bars catering to every music preference. All this will be yours for the taking on a sun soaked Magaluf holiday.

6 Tips For Spending Wisely This Holiday Season

When holiday music is piped into malls and festive themes accompany some hard-to-miss sales, it’s no wonder people are compelled to overspend during the holidays. Here are six helpful tips to keep help keep your holiday spending in check this season.

1. Start with a list. Even Santa knows it’s wise to make a list (and check it twice!) in preparation for the gift-giving season. Make a list with everyone you plan to buy for. Be sure to include family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and anyone else in your life you would like to remember with a gift. Next, set a budget to guide your purchases. If the math doesn’t add up-you have too many gifts to buy and not enough money to go around-pare down your list or reduce the amount you can spend on each person.

2. Comparison shop. Your holiday dollars will go further if you do your homework before pulling out your wallet. Online price comparison engines can help you identify where to find the best deals. Shopping online can be a real time-saver, too, but be mindful of shipping charges. You’ll also want to watch for upcoming holiday sales and plan your shopping excursions accordingly. Black Friday is not the only time you can find deals during the season.

3. Avoid overspending on a credit card. Naturally, credit cards offer the convenience of buying now and paying later. The “pay later” scenario only works in your favor if you’re able to zero out your balance before the next billing cycle. If you don’t pay down your charges for months on end, interest accrues and suddenly that $30 gift has snowballed into an unwieldy sum. If you need to rely on credit to spread the cost of holiday purchases over a few months, factor in estimated interest charges when you make your budget. Or better yet, avoid the credit trap altogether by spending within your means.

4. Keep your savings on track. Saving should be a regular part of your monthly budget. If you’ve worked with a financial advisor before, stick to your savings plan instead of putting your financial future on hold. If you haven’t worked with a financial professional before and don’t yet have a plan for growing your nest egg, give yourself the gift of financial advice this year. A qualified financial advisor can identify strategies to help you achieve your financial goals.

5. Give sentimental gifts that don’t cost much. When you’re in stores, it’s easy to get distracted and start to ignore your budget. Don’t buy into the notion that the price tag of a gift indicates its ultimate value. The best gifts are not necessarily the most expensive. In many cases, a thoughtful, sentimental gift can mean as much or more than an expensive object.

6. Remember to put people first. In our consumer-centric society, it’s easy to get carried away with material things. It’s important to stay focused on what truly matters about the season-spending time with the people who mean the most to you. It doesn’t cost anything to take some time away from the hustle and bustle and savor the special moments that come with the holidays.