PHOENIX - Summer vacations are a lot of fun, but they can cost a lot of money. In fact, American Express says the average vacation for a family of four now costs more than $4,500.

"The whole idea of a vacation is to come back relaxed and rested and not to a mountain of debt that you're going to have to pay off over the next year," financial advisor Jim Dew told 12 News.

So Dew offers these tips to save money on your next vacation.

He advises, if you're flying, be flexible on the days and airports you use.

"If you move your travel date a little bit or the time you travel or maybe be willing to make one stop, you can dramatically drop your airline fare," Dew said.

Also, pack lightly -- that could save a family hundreds of dollars in baggage fees.

When you get to your destination, think about ditching a hotel and staying in an Airbnb or VRBO home so you have a kitchen.

"A lot of the cost of travel is when you eat out," Dew said. "And if you can cook some of your meals inside, it's a great cost savings and it's actually kind of fun to cook meals together in a home."

Then when you head out, look for deals. Many museums and activities have free and discount days. Or they have coupons on websites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

Finally, give yourself an allowance.

"Sometimes people go and put everything on one credit card and it's easy to go over your budget," Dew said. "If you have a cash allowance set up for that day -- add 10 to 15 percent because usually we're a little off -- and when you're done that day, you're done. Don't spend any more."

This way you can save money and still have a fun summer vacation.

Get more ways to save and financial tips from Dew Wealth Management.