Why do so many vacations cost more than you expected? According to LearnVest‘s 2017 Money Habits and Confessions Survey, 74 percent of people say they’ve gone into debt to pay for a vacation, to the tune of over $1,000 on average. And with vacations costing an average of over $1,445 per person, money woes can quickly put a damper on your fun. But you don’t have to be the average. Consider a few ways to save money that might be overlooked:

Go Off-Peak

Before getting into the details, consider when you want to travel. Can you go during off-season instead of peak travel times (typically mid-June through August)? This can be a huge way to save money, according to travel experts, and late spring and mid-fall can be beautiful times to travel and a great way to avoid the crowds (and prices) of peak season. And in many places, the off-peak season — generally November through March in the Northern Hemisphere — is still great. While this isn’t an option for everyone, if your schedule is flexible, you may want to take advantage of it. CNN Travel points out that the rainy season in tropical climes isn’t the traveler’s nightmare you may have heard about, and near-Arctic winters sound intense but are also ridiculously beautiful. Strict schedule? Think outside-the-box destinations that aren’t as popular and are likelier to offer better deals to attract tourists.

Buy on Sunday, Fly on Thursday

Saving on airfare is probably the near the top of your list, but there’s been so much written on the subject that it makes more sense to reduce it to the basics. The Airlines Reporting Corporation suggests in its yearly Air Travel Outlook Report the following tips:

  • Book your flights 30 to 40 days in advance.
  • Buy on a Sunday.
  • Fly economy.
  • Depart on a Thursday or Friday — never on a Sunday.

You can also search online to find cheaper alternative routes, with or without connections, to your destination. (The Points Guy has a good guide on how to do this.) NerdWallet‘s experts emphasize getting price alerts from airlines for your destinations and to start monitoring prices within three months of when you want to travel.

Finally, be aware of associated fees for things like baggage, food and drinks, transportation to and from the airport, and customs.

Remember, ABB: Always Be Budgeting!

Trade Spaces

Saving money may require a bigger initial time investment, but the payoff can be significant, leaving you with more money to play with — or not spend at all. Many major cities are home to hostels that can provide accommodations ranging from shared to semi-private, and typically cost significantly less than hotel rooms in the same area. Another option is home-swapping, which is about what it sounds like, you exchange homes (and even cars) with people in towns you want to visit.

For hotels, consider booking your room either at the last minute — to take advantage of cancellations — or more than days in advance. And consider booking directly with the hotel. NerdWallet points out that many hotels offer attractive rates for direct reservations to compete with travel-planning websites.

Dine In

When it comes to dining on vacation, you can save money while still enjoying the local cuisine. If your lodging comes with use of a kitchen, shop for local groceries, prepare meals and take them with you. Whether you’re planning on only coming back to your lodgings to sleep or you’re splurging on a home away from home, stocking up on little things like water and snacks can wind up saving you money.

Try drinking in the view with homemade cocktails; it’s way cheaper and more relaxing than a bar. If you choose to go out, try to time your trip around events like New York City’s Restaurant Week, when a selection of area restaurants offer a fine dining experience for a preset cost like $17 for a full lunch or $30 for dinner. Don’t skimp on the tip though.

Let Them Entertain You

You can see all kinds of great theater without paying through the nose for Broadway tickets.

NerdWallet recommends scouring guides like TimeOut New York‘s tips to catching a Broadway show for less, to finding cool, inexpensive local entertainment. Some theater districts offer same-day discounted tickets, and theaters themselves sometimes offer promotions for people willing to wait in line for will-call seats.

Many smaller theaters may provide intimate settings and high-quality entertainment for significantly less cost, and you’ll be supporting local artists.

Ride the Rails

If you’re willing to get creative, there are other ways to have a vacation experience. Did you know that you can purchase sleeper car tickets on some rail lines? The Man in Seat 61, an alt-travel expert, has incredible, detailed guides to rail travel on every continent. He notes that for the cost of flights and lodging, you could potentially travel the entire U.S., see the sights and have a stable place to rest your head, with all the travel taken care of for you and many miles of beautiful countryside to check out.If you’re traveling internationally, many countries have even better railway systems to explore as well.

Use Those Points

If you’re using a credit card, you are likely earning points you can put toward travel. Check with your credit card, start racking them up and use them wisely!

If you can be flexible with your travel, why not take a spontaneous long weekend in a place you hadn’t thought to visit, but offers great deals through your credit card rewards program?

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