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Summer VacationSummer vacation planning, much like any process, is as crazy as you want to make it. Some families circumvent the crazy game by committing to the same family resort or timeshare summer after summer. But if you’ve never had a recurring summer plan, here are some things to think about as July and August race toward you. 

Figure out how camp fits in
If you haven’t yet made a decision about summer camp, don’t wait too much longer. There’s a reason why your pediatrician’s office is being bombarded with camp medical forms this month – they’re due soon. If you’re not entirely sure what camp might be right for your child, SummerScope.com is a free referral service that’ll help you find a match between your child and a camp program. Once you know if your child will be in camp and for how long, it’ll be easier to determine how much of the summer will be left for you to “program” for you and your family.


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Do some easy research
Online travel agencies will serve up family travel deals until your head spins, so beyond the musings of yours truly and those in your immediate circles you’ll need some reliable word of mouth to separate the good deals from the clunkers. Check out the hand-picked family travel deals right here on ShermansTravel.com. Also, be sure to peruse CiaoBambino.com and WeJustGotBack.com for thorough trip reports from traveling parents.


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Look for bargains in unusual places
If the economy has wrecked your summer vacation budget, keep in mind that it has probably done the same for people saddled with timeshares. Sites like VacationTimeshareRentals.com and RedWeek.com have listings from owners who may be willing to rent their properties for as little as a week at a time and for a very negotiable price.

If you want to drive south (quickly and on a budget!), Amtrak is back this summer with its Auto Train deal that not only transports your auto from Virginia to Florida overnight but also permits each grownup who pays full fare (around $116) to bring up to two kids aged 2-15 for $19 apiece (versus the regular $58 kids fare). The deal, which can be activated with promotion code H829, is good for travel between June 1 and August 30, and reservations may be made through June 5.

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