Your money will go further on this summer's vacation if you plan carefully and look for bargains. You'll also have more to spend if you save methodically. See these sites to learn how.

Counting stars. In its area for single parents, About.com describes many ways to save on a vacation, especially by reducing or eliminating hotel costs. The list here starts with the suggestion to stay with family or friends during your vacation. Of course it helps if those family or friends live in vacation-worthy places - and are willing to put you up. If not, consider the two-star accommodations, instead of three- and four-star hotels. Linked pages provide tips to save on transportation and food.

MoneyNing. David Ning's MoneyNing blog lists "50 budget travel tips" that include many you may not have considered - such as packing old clothes that you can throw away so you've got suitcase space for new purchases in this age of steep airline baggage fees, considering a bus ride (on the theory that slower is often cheaper), and generally being as flexible as possible.

Help me. This is a rather fun site, Help Me Travel Cheap, a blog by Craig and Jeri Ford, who live as missionaries in Papua New Guinea. This post names "5 frugal (and wonderful) travel destinations" that are surprising in that most are unexpectedly exotic for a reader used to trekking to the Poconos: Bali, Morocco, Mexico, Ecuador, and Romania, a country where hotels and hostels cost $20 a night or less.

Piggy bank. OK, this is really basic and corny, but if you never make a plan to set money aside for vacations, you may never take that trip of a lifetime. Here's a simple checklist from Travels.com for finding a bank that offers vacation accounts, and advice to unload spare cash into a piggy bank or coffee can each day, and to deposit what accumulates there each week.

And here's some added advice for a more formal program of automatic savings.

Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or rkanaley@phillynews.com.