Airfare and hotel rates have been on the rise. Between the nuisance fees for previously free services like meals and baggage check and the soaring cost of the tickets, it’s no wonder so many people are rethinking their travel plans and even opting to spend their free time at home.
It doesn’t have to be that way. With creative planning and smart shopping, you can save on your summer travel. Consider these eight tips.
- Fly at times others avoid. Everyone wants to leave on the weekend and travel in the morning but fewer are willing to leave in the middle of the week or take a red-eye flight. If you keep your schedule open, you can trade some inconvenience for significant travel discounts.
- Sign up for email alerts. Most airlines and hotel chains have their own email lists, and you can parlay those messages into big savings. Email club members get early notice of special discounts, insider sales and other opportunities to save big money.
- Pack only what you need. Most airlines charge for checked baggage, and that could cost you a bundle. Packing smart is good for your back and your wallet. You probably don’t need a huge suitcase for a weekend getaway, and you may be able to make do with a carry-on even on longer trips. The secret is packing smart and making every item count.
- Make friends with the concierge. The hotel concierge has the inside scoop on everything from the best places to dine to the best place to score half-price theatre tickets. Take advantage of that expertise by getting to know the concierge as soon as you check in.
- Travel off season. Traveling when others don’t want to is one of the best ways to save. Traveling during the off season has a number of other benefits as well, from fewer crowds to a better selection of hotels and resorts.
- Compare all-inclusive rates to al-a-carte travel. You may think that an all-inclusive cruise or vacation resort isn’t in your budget, but it might actually be the best value. Before you write off an all-inclusive package, take the time to price out all aspects of the trip. You just might find that a package deal is the best way to go.
- Grab a new credit card. You need a credit card for travel anyway, so why not choose one that is linked to your favorite airline or hotel chain? You can get bonus miles just for signing up and additional miles or points for every purchase.
- Consider last-minute cruising. If you’re retired or have lots of time on your hands, you could score a cruise by scouring last-minute deals. Cruises are among the best last-minute values, so look into hitting the high seas for a great price.
Seeing the world doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. With the right preparation and some careful planning, you can save money while still having a wonderful summer vacation.