As you’ve likely heard, travel is booming this year. Because travel restrictions are dropping and places around the world have opened back up, many destinations are going to be sold out or very expensive. That along with soaring gas prices and rising airfare is making summer travel about 25% to 30% higher this summer than last. For these reasons, you’ll want to grab all the best summer travel tips and tricks to stay on budget, so you can make the most of your summer time travels and adventures.
Choose Your Destination Carefully
Since summer time is peak season for the most popular destinations, consider traveling to less busy, but still amazing places. The more popular the destination, the more difficult it will be to book affordable accomodations and attractions.
Here are a couple of low key destination ideas to get you started:
Natural Bridges National Monument, southeast Utah
Most travelers hit the Mighty 5, but this underrated destination is less crowded, and has plenty of opportunities for stargazing, hiking, and scenic views.
Chincoteague Island, Virginia
This destination has a great mixture of nature, relaxing beaches, and wild ponies.
Fundy National Park, southeast coast of New Brunswick, Canada
Visit Fundy for the world’s highest waves, over 25 waterfalls, campgrounds, and many hiking and biking trails.
What Kind Of Vacation Are You Looking For?
It’s been a tough few years for many people. Your summer vacation can be a time to recharge, have fun, and connect with loved ones. One key summer travel tip is to figure out what you are looking for in your vacation. Do want a relaxing beach vacation with great amenities? An outdoor adventure to a National Park with hikes to waterfalls, and dips in lakes? A road trip down the California Coast with great food, beaches, and sea lions? Or maybe an amusement park visit like Disneyworld, but in Paris?
Check Entry and COVID Requirements
If you are staying in state, COVID precautions may no longer be an issue. However, if you are planning a trip further away, or internationally, you’ll want to make sure you understand what will be required (vaccinations, visas, quarantine etc.)
Find a Hotel for the Right Price
Choosing a hotel, campground or vacation rental can feel overwhelming with all the choices. Narrowing your choices down can be a headache, when trying to factor in everybody’s needs. Here are a few tips for finding the right place to stay at the right price.
Book In Advance and Be Flexible With Dates
Play around with dates for vacations, especially if you have a special place you really want to stay in. Booking far in advance will avoid disappointments, but be sure to pick the option with the most flexible cancellation policy.
Use Hotel Points And Elite Status
Do you have points you can redeem for hotel stays? Or maybe elite status with certain hotels through your credit cards? Get creative and save a little money by using your points to pay for the room. Some hotels have rooms set aside for Elite Status guests, which can be useful during peak season. Often hotels will have their own rewards programs you can sign up for that offer member deals, discounts, and perks like late checkout and faster wi-fi. Once you hit higher tiers of hotel elite status, you’ll unlock bonus benefits like room upgrades, club lounge access, and complimentary meals.
Many hotels limit the number of guests per room. If you have five or more people traveling together, you may be better off finding a cottage or home vacation rental. If you're adventurous, you can try camping, or even renting an RV for a week or two before hitting the open road.
Find An Affordable Car Rental
Rental shortages are still happening, though not to the extremes of 2021. As many car companies sold off the majority of their fleet during the pandemic, it still can be more difficult to find cars and generally rentals are more expensive. Try the following to find affordable car rentals.
Book In Advance
Book as far in advance as possible. That is the general theme for travel these days. Prices rise and availability decreases the closer you get to your trip. Even if your trip details are not yet confirmed, book now. Car rentals don't have to be paid ahead of time, so cancellation is easy.
If you can’t find a car rental through traditional companies consider an option like Turo, where you “borrow” a local’s car. It’s available in over 5,000 cities across the U.S., in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec and also the United Kingdom.
Use Elite Status
Having elite status with a car rental loyalty program can be the difference between getting a car or not, even if you have a reservation. Sometimes they set aside cars just for elite members. Or perhaps your credit cards have car rental benefits, like skip the counter, automatic elite status, upgrades, or other perks with certain rental companies. Check to see if the rental agency offers a car rental program status match because they will often offer to match your status to get you to try out their company. Avis, Enterprise, and National all offer loyalty programs that are free to join.
Change the Length Of Your Car Rental
It often pays to play around with the length of rental time you want for the rental car. Often renting a car is cheaper by the week or month. However, check with the rental company to make sure they won’t revert it back to the daily rate if you plan on returning the car early.
Broaden Your Flight Search to Include Nearby Airports
Travelers who can search larger airports where there is a lot of airline competition will likely score a better deal than travelers who want to fly out of smaller airports or airports where one airline serves many of the departing flights. Pricing always depends on how much competition there is at the airport.
Plan a Road Trip Closer to Home
Staying closer to home for your summer vacation will definitely help your wallet. Even with high gas prices, you can adjust your route or plan to stay a shorter length of time and you will save money. Our country has an abundance of great national parks that are dotted all over the U.S. as a road trip option. To help even more with higher gas prices, try enrolling in savings programs, getting a tune up on your car, and using apps to find the lowest gas prices in your area.
Despite sky high costs, families are still finding ways to make it work to have a memorable vacation. And because of the pent up demand for travel, some are just willing to splurge this time around.