Hotel reservations or rental properties should be reserved ahead of time. Many travel agents recommend calling the hotel in the location where you want to stay (as opposed to the chain’s reservation desk), and ask for the rock bottom price, and THEN ask about special discounts: Seniors, students, government, membership or corporate rates. Another idea is to ask someone you know who owns a lake cabin, camper or motor home, and offer to rent it for a price you can afford. (Tell them it's okay if they say no, and mean it.)

And now, one last piece of advice for enjoying the ultimate family vacation. Don’t forget to plan time to relax! Many of us spend our vacations trying to see an entire city in only a few days. By the end of the week everyone is exhausted and the entire family has donned their boxing gloves. Once we finally arrive home, we need to take another vacation just to recover from our first vacation. Remember, money is not the critical factor in having a great vacation -- it's about relationships, attitudes, flexibility and good planning.

Steve Scalici is the Vice President of Treasure Coast Financial, a financial planning firm in Stuart, FL. He is co-host of God's Money which can be heard weekdays at He can also be reached at his website