Tips for save money on next vacation

juAmericans are notorious for leaving their vacation days on the table partly because of work pressures, but also because they think they can’t afford trips. Financial expert Jill Schlesinger visited MONEY to offer a few vacation planning tips:

Set a realistic budget

Do enough research to figure out costs in advance, and then plug the trip in as a separate line item in your annual budget, so that you’re not scrambling to come up with cash just when you’re dying to get away.

Expect the gotchas

From breakfasts to museum costs to special excursions, make sure you’re budgeting well beyond just hotel and dinner costs.

Save separately

To avoid diverting your travel funds to cover day-to-day costs, set up an automatic monthly transfer that will create a separate pot of money dedicated to your vacation.

Don’t skip time off

Even if you’ve got big costs elsewhere, commit at least to a staycation. To make it special, treat it as you would an out-of-town vacation: Spend time at museums or other tourist spots you might not otherwise have time for, don’t check work email, and avoid blowing that time off on ordinary errands and chores.

You should also be aware of foreign transaction fees your card may impose, and see if you can get around ATM fees. Start your search for a new card at MONEY’s Best Travel Credit Cards.