Get Vaccinated for the Most Travel Options
Many international destinations (including most of Europe) will open to vaccinated travelers this summer. If you want plenty of destinations to choose from and compare, getting vaccinated will make price shopping much easier and protect your health as well as the health of others.
Travel Off the Beaten Path
With travel mostly on pause in 2020, popular domestic destinations will likely be crowded with visitors this year. If your goal is saving money, look for less popular destinations that are off the beaten path and much cheaper as a result. This could mean staying in the suburbs of a major city, or in a beach or mountain destination that is geared to locals instead of tourists.
Plan a Summer Road Trip
Road trips can be fun and affordable, but they also offer an excellent way to see the United States. You will save more money if you can drive your own car instead of renting one, and you can boost your savings by staying in moderate hotels, or even camping along the way.
Book a Theme Park Vacation
Theme parks are known for being affordable, and many top theme parks and waterparks will be open to visitors during the summer of 2021. Many theme parks also offer camping options nearby, which can help you save money on lodging. You can also save on meals by cooking out each night after a day of theme park fun.
Cash in Your Airline Miles
If you didn't get the chance to travel in 2020, but you still have airline miles to use, consider cashing them in for your summer travel plans. Since airline miles and other travel rewards are constantly devalued, you should try to use them whenever you can.
Earn a Travel Credit Card Signup Bonus
You can also consider opening a new travel rewards credit card with the goal of earning a big signup bonus. Many of the top travel credit cards offer bonuses worth $500 or more when you can meet a minimum spending requirement, and you can use these bonuses for flights, hotels, rental cars, and other travel expenses.
Search Google Flights
Google Flights is a free tool that can help you compare prices and save money when you shop for airfare. This tool compares fares across all the major airlines for your destination and dates, and you can even search for flights by region if you're flexible on where you go.
Rent a Beach House with Friends
Renting a beach house with friends can be a lot of fun, but it can also lead to significant savings. Not only can you split the cost of the rental but having a house with a kitchen means you can cook some of your meals at home. Cocktails on your beachfront patio will also cost significantly less than they would at the local beachfront bar.
Rent an RV
If you want to explore the country and camp this summer but you don't own a RV, consider renting one.With an RV, you can explore the open road and camp along the way, and you can save more money by packing snacks and cooking all your own meals over a campfire or in your RV kitchen.
Drive Instead of Flying
Airfare can be expensive, but the cost of flying also multiplies based on your family size. If you want to save money and don't mind a road trip, consider driving to your destination. You'll not only skip the cost of airfare, but you won't have to pay for checked baggage or overpriced airport food.
Book Your Trip as a Package
Vacation packages can almost always help you save on travel since they bundle your airfare, hotel, and activities all for one price. Your local travel advisor is a great resource for finding excellent package options.
If you're looking for a low cost travel deal right now, you might consider all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. These resorts are fairly inexpensive right now due to low occupancy rates and travel restrictions. They are always a good value since all food, drink, and entertainment is included in the nightly rate.
Be Flexible with Dates
Most travel bookings rely on dynamic pricing, which means the cost of flights and hotel stays can be hard to predict. With this in mind, you'll save the most money on your travel plans if you're willing to consider multiple dates and be as flexible as you can for your trip. You can also save money if you're willing to fly on a weekday instead of a weekend.
Use AutoSlash for Car Rentals
Rental car prices are soaring this year, which means it is more important than ever to shop around. You can also use the website AutoSlash to check rates over time. This site lets you enter your booking information and receive updates any time the price of your rental goes down.
Regardless of whether you rent a beach home or you opt for a hotel or resort, you can save money by packing your own alcohol. Drinks are dramatically cheaper when you use your own ingredients, and you won't have tipping to think about.
Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees
If you are traveling outside the United States, you'll want to pick up a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. If you don't, you'll be charged an average of 3% in additional fees for each purchase you make. Fortunately, many of the top rewards credit cards offer no foreign transaction fees. Check your cards before you depart.
Never Eat at the Airport
Finally, make sure you avoid airport food. Not only is it dramatically overpriced, but airport food is usually disappointing, too. Try to eat before you head to the airport and make sure you always have a few snacks in your bag. Signing up for a credit card with airport lounge access is another way you can save on food when you travel.