The summer of 2021 was initially hailed as the summer of recovery on the COVID-19 front. Cases were down, vaccination rates were up, and people were finally making plans after months of social distancing.
Then the delta variant struck, and it upended a lot of people’s travel plans. But this year, a lot of people are banking on things being different. While COVID-19 is still circulating, the CDC has relaxed its guidelines in the wake of the omicron surge. Now, Americans may be more apt to book the travel they’ve had to put off for two years.
If you’re hoping to travel a lot this year, the one thing that might hold you back is money. Travel has gotten expensive, and with gas prices soaring, even road trips are becoming a costly prospect. But if you play your cards right, you can save money on travel and avoid debt in the course of your trips. Here’s how.
1. Book summertime plans ahead of time
Summer tends to be a popular time for travel. But if you make your arrangements now, you might save money on flights and hotels.
Most hotels offer fairly flexible cancellation policies, allowing you, in some cases, to back out with just 48 hours’ notice. With airlines, you get less flexibility, so you’ll need to be more careful there. The same applies to private rentals you book through sites like Airbnb or VRBO. But if your plans are firm, booking ahead of time could result in you spending less.
2. Get off the beaten path
If you’re traveling to a popular destination this year like Disney World, you might spend a small fortune on a week away. That’s why it pays to explore lesser-known destinations
Do some research depending on your goals and needs. There are numerous kid-friendly cities across the country with amenities like parks, zoos, and smaller amusement parks that may be suitable for your children. And if you’re traveling kid free, you can look into areas that offer access to great food, awesome hiking, or a host of museums.
3. Use the right credit card
The credit card you use to book your plans could lead to big savings — so it’s important to choose the right one. If you’re planning a road trip, use a card that gives you extra cash back at the pump. If you’re flying, consider a travel rewards credit card, as these cards commonly offer money-saving perks like free checked baggage.
4. Redeem those saved miles or hotel points
Some people like to hang onto air miles or hotel points as a safety net of sorts. But if travel demand soars this year, flights and hotels could get very expensive. If you’re sitting on racked up miles or points, now may be a good time to use them.
No matter what travel plans you have in mind, it’s helpful to pull them off for less money. Not only might that help you avoid debt, but it could also set the stage for additional vacations — and a world of incredible experiences and memories.
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