Your vacation memories will last for the rest of your life. You know that you work hard all year long, and so you deserve some time to yourself for rest and relaxation. That's why you need a vacation. However, if you're like most people these days, you can't spend a fortune on it. Thankfully, you can have the best of both world by using a couple of tricks to plan a budget vacation that will be fun, exciting, and inexpensive.

The travel and vacation industry is a very competitive one. That means there are lots of companies vying for your money. You can use this to your advantage -- find discounts, coupons, and other deals on travel, hotel, and food. Online is a great place to look since most of these companies have large web presences these days. Comparison shop. Remember that hotels want your business, and they'll often match (or beat!) a competitor's price. Another tactic to use is negotiation. Some hotels will give you a reduced rate if you merely ask for it!

If you'll be bringing your kids, make sure to plan for it. Find hotels, restaurants, and attractions that are kid friendly. Some companies offer packages designed with parents in mind. You can go to an amusement park, the beach, or even go on a cruise with your children. They'll love it!

Food costs can add up, especially if you're in a larger group. This can be one of the most expensive parts of a vacation, so if you're looking to save money, start here. One thing to think about is paying a little extra for a hotel room with a kitchen. Cooking your own food is drastically cheaper than going out to restaurants, so eating in your room can save big bucks. Many hotels have some food included in the price, for example, a continental breakfast. Cheap all inclusive cruises include all meals as part of the cost. Even if you only make sandwiches for lunch, you'll still be saving money, so make sure to plan ahead for food.

Depending on where you're going, transportation can be a big cost. Some places charge money for a shuttle to and from the airport. Make sure you know how you'll get around before you get to your destination. This will allow you to avoid any rude awakenings later. Sometimes vacation packages include transportation or offer cheaper group transportation. Larger cities will have public transportation. If you can, make reservations at a hotel in walking distance to the things you want to see. Barring that, try to find a hotel which is at least close by.

Finally, some vacations are just cheaper than others. Going to a national park or to the beach is easier and cheaper than going to Disney World. Plan to visit attractions that are beautiful and meaningful to you, but inexpensive. Shopping and eating out will really burn through your wallet fast, so avoid those.