As demand grows and prices rise, 7 ways to save on travel this summer
Erik Isakson | tetra images | Getty Images
Americans want their summer vacation.
However, this demand results in higher prices. Airline tickets are up 7% for the month and 24% from the previous year, according to the consumer price index for May, released Thursday by the Ministry of Labor.
Car and truck rental prices jumped 12.1% in May, up 110% from a year ago, and gasoline is up 56.2% year-over-year last.
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Yet there are still ways to spend smart.
“Whether it’s international or domestic, it’s best to plan every step of your trip in advance to make sure there aren’t any hidden sticker shocks,” said Jordan Staab, president of SmarterTravel. Media.
Here’s how you can save money when planning your next vacation.
The best way to save money is to drive your own car to your destination, Staab said.
To find the cheapest fuel prices during your road trip, you can download the GasBuddy application.
Staab expects the cost of the flight to continue to rise until July 4, so if you want to book a summer trip, get started right away, he advised.
If you have more flexibility and are comfortable with the wait, prices may start to drop after Independence Day.
That said, if you book the flight too close to the actual travel date, you could end up paying more. The best time to buy your plane tickets is in what Scott Keyes, founder of travel deals websites and Scott’s Cheap Flights newsletter, calls the “Goldilocks window” – neither too early nor too late.
For domestic travel, cheap flights are more likely to appear one to three months before your travel date. If you’re traveling overseas, they’re usually likely to happen two to eight months in advance, he said. You can monitor the rates by setting up price alerts.
Typically, people choose a destination, when the trip will take place, and then research the costs of airline tickets.
Instead, flip it over, Keyes said. Search for cheap flights from your home airport and choose the destination that interests you most. Then see which dates work with your schedule.
“By setting price as the top priority rather than the last priority, this is how you get cheap flights,” Keyes said.
The Great Arch in Zion National Park, Utah.
DANIEL SLIM | AFP | Getty Images
You can also find cheaper plane tickets at another nearby airport. It may mean a longer journey, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a longer journey time. For example, that longer trip might result in a flight that doesn’t have as many stops along the way.
If you are traveling to a faraway destination, you can also find cheaper plane tickets to a major city, then take a local low-cost airline, ferry, or train to your final destination.
It is no longer true that there is a better day of the week to book a flight, as new prices are constantly being posted, Keyes said.
That said, there are usually cheaper days to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
Beaches and national parks are extremely popular in the summer. In fact, if you want to visit a national park, Staab advises you to make a reservation first. In many parks, these reservations are required.
To save money, consider a location that is not your usual destination, such as the mountains instead of the beach.
“If it’s something that everyone wants to do, it’s going to be expensive,” Staab said.
An airport hostess waits to assist passengers through a Covid-19 rapid test area at Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy, April 2, 2021.
PIERO CRUCIATTI | AFP | Getty Images
You may need a coronavirus test before you travel, so find your destination to make sure you know what is required.
Some drugstore chains offer PCR tests at no additional cost if you use insurance or are subject to a federal program. You can also get rapid tests and PCR at some airports for a fee.
Although you often have to pay for the pre-travel test, many hotels and destinations offer free testing, Staab noted. Some destinations will even pay you for a negative Covid test. For example, the Azores islands off the coast of Portugal are offering a voucher of 35 euros to offset the cost of the mandatory Covid test, he pointed out.