Vacation time is meant to be spent without a care, but achieving the idealized "care-free" vacation is difficult these days. Technology makes it a challenge to unplug from work even when you're hundreds of miles from the office, and no matter where you go, you face the issue of cost.

Vacations cost money - there's no getting around it. However, you don't have to spend your vacation stressed out about your bank account. Here are five suggestions to help you reduce the financial anxiety that can come along with vacation.

1. Use Those Points!

If you travel frequently and don't have a frequent flyer program or some other rewards-generating credit program set up, you're missing out! Every major credit card company offers promotional deals for travelers, and some of them have impressive perks. For example, meeting the entry bonus requirements for a Chase Sapphire card can earn you enough free points for a trip across the country, and your points can go toward lodging, transport and activities. As a bonus, most of these cards waive the foreign currency exchange fee typically associated with using a credit card abroad.

2. Take Advantage of Deals

Many people are keen on saving a few dollars when we visit the grocery store or clothier but assume that the effort required to save a few isn't worth their time when traveling. Besides, you're only abroad for a few days, so how much could it really add up to?

The truth is that you can take advantage of savings even before you leave for your trip. For example, you can use apps like Skyscanner and SuperShuttle to find the cheapest airfare to your destination and pre-book transport from the airport to your lodging. Booking in advance ensures you won't be overcharged by local cabs and ridesharing services, regardless of whether you're traveling during busy hours.

3. Plan Ahead

Just like you make a budget at home, you can budget for how you'd like to spend your money when you travel. With a little research, it should be easy enough to determine your costs for food and transportation during your vacation. Be sure to build in a little "splurge money" on the side, so you don't have to feel guilty about saying yes to something that looks enticing. Depending on the length of the trip, you can then save ahead of time to offset the costs and allow yourself to travel with the peace-of-mind that you're working to your budget.

4. Pack Smart

Imagine you've arrived at your destination only to discover it's cold and you didn't pack a jacket. That's going to be a major expense, and you've probably got one sitting in your closet at home.

This might be an exaggerated example, but it makes the point that you have to pay attention to what you bring. You don't want to waste space in your suitcase with things you won't use, but you should always bring items that will cost you more abroad. Make a list of what you're going to bring ahead of time, so you don't end up packing last minute and forgetting something.

5. Don't Drag Your Debt Along

If you're planning to head out on vacation, but you've got major purchases left to pay off, you're setting yourself up for a stressful time. It's not going to be easy having to weigh every decision you make about a purchase against the need to pay off your debt. You'll only be going further into the red in the process. So instead, get your bills paid to make sure you have enough spending money before you leave for your trip.

It's Important to Spend Time Away

Vacation is healthy. We all benefit from some time to see new things and put working life down. Failing to plan appropriately and putting yourself in financial hardship, however, is not the goal. You don't want to take a vacation you can't enjoy. Instead, practice these five simple tips, and when you do travel, you'll be able to do it stress-free.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington