Unless you prepaid for a summer trip months ago, or unloaded your pent-up points from a credit card that earns travel rewards, chances are you may be rethinking at least some aspects of your vacation plans right about now.
More than two-thirds of respondents in a May 2022 U.S. News survey said recent financial events are having a negative impact on their summer plans. Specifically, according to the 1,211 U.S. residents polled, soaring inflation and stock market volatility are being blamed for putting a damper on many people’s warm-weather excursions. Almost 21% of respondents said they’re reducing the number of trips they plan to take, while some 22% are shrinking their travel budgets.
Despite rising costs on everything from airfare to food, lodging and other transportation, there are ways you can cut costs without canceling your plans completely. After all, a change of scenery – and a brain break from work – can do almost everyone some good, especially after several years of pandemic restrictions.
Check prices for every day of the month
When booking airline tickets, hotels and entertainment, travel experts know the day of the week matters. If you are flexible on when and where you can travel, you could save hundreds or even thousands over the course of a trip just by cherry-picking the cheapest time and days to fly. Want to jet to Utah to take in the Grand Canyon with the kids? Depending on where you live, the time of day you travel and the airline, the price of a round-trip economy ticket can range from about $600 to more than $1,200 during a five-day period. Same goes for hotels and condos. When booking travel online, look at the price per day to pick a time when rates are lowest. You can also try Google’s flight tracker to help predict when prices will be low.
A staycation may be all you ever wanted
We don’t mean pitching a tent in the backyard, although that can be fun, too. We’re talking about checking out the new hotel and spa that opened up in your area. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give glamping a try? If your budget suddenly won’t allow for an extended stay, even a two-night getaway could be just the thing you need to recharge. Check sites such as Groupon for discounts on activities in your city and surrounding areas and for ideas on new places to visit. Want to add some culture to your close-to-home trip without breaking the bank? Keep in mind that art and history museums typically set aside a day each month when locals can visit for free.
Road trippin’ for the win
There’s something supremely satisfying about slipping on a pair of sunglasses, cranking up your favorite tunes and heading out on an adventure with friends or family. If you’re within a few hours drive of a scenic coastline, whether it’s the Outer Banks or a great lake, consider a short trip to your nearest beach, water park or other natural wonder. Yes, gas prices are higher than normal, but you can always split the cost with your pals. Plan ahead and bring along snacks and lunch from home to save even more.
Mix business and pleasure
If you’re finally traveling again for work, consider tacking a few extra days onto the end of your trip to see some sights, whether you’re solo or with family. Never underestimate the power of a hotel pool to entertain your children and create fun summer memories. When your business meetings end, set your out of office email response and unleash your wanderlust.
Scroll social media
Besides checking in on what your friends have been up to, Facebook can be a good place to discover last minute deals on nearby getaways. There are a variety of pages set up by rental companies and others to alert would-be travelers in real-time when previously booked condos and beach homes become available. Use the key words “last minute deals” on Facebook to see what’s available where you live or where you want to visit.