Budget-Friendly Summer Travel Tips – NBC Boston

The countdown to summer is on, and experts predict it is going to be one of the busiest travel seasons we’ve seen in a while. 

“It was a long two years,” said Wendy Marley, a travel advisor with AAA in Newton.  “The jump in travel from 2021 up to 2022, the increase is the highest that we’ve seen year over year since 2010.”

“A lot of people are sitting on a lot of cash that they never got to use in the past two summers and you know this is the summer that they are going to take it,” said Lousson Smith, a product operations specialist at Scott’s Cheap Flights.

People definitely want to get away this year.  Hotels are booking up and rental cars are in short supply.

The National Parks, Orlando, Alaska, Canada, Aruba and Greece and Italy are hot destinations.

With gas prices at record highs, you may want to shorten your road trip or consider Amtrak. And when it comes to airfares, the sooner you book the better, so hurry up.

“You still might find a great fare for late June or mid to late August,” said Smith.  “As soon as you see a fare that you’re comfortable with, go ahead and book it.  You’re entitled to a 24-hour period where you can cancel for free.”

And once you book, keep an eye on the fares in case you see your flight offered for a cheaper price later.

“You can call up the airlines if you booked an economy ticket or higher and they will refund you the difference of that fare in the form of a credit,” said Smith. “So, as soon as you see a price that you like, go ahead and book it and use those tools to your advantage to make sure you’re getting the most value for your money.”

Being flexible with dates and destinations is the single best way to find an affordable option. Smith recommends going for the cheapest flight you can find and building your adventure from there.

He suggested using websites like Google, Kayak or Scott’s Cheap Flights to find options that fit your budget.

“We put in a few different parameters, see which destinations come up and say, ‘hey, listen, if you go Tuesday to Tuesday, the airfare looks really great,'” said Marley. “If you give us some direction, whether it’s Caribbean or domestic…. it’s very easy to search and find deals.”

International travel still isn’t back to pre-pandemic levels, so you have a chance of snagging a deal on airfare. But if you are traveling internationally check with each country you’re visiting regarding their COVID-19 restrictions.

“Some are requiring tests, some just require proof of vaccination, some have forms you need to fill out, so it’s very important to check and make sure that you’re complying with that so that they don’t deny you entry,” said Marley. “A lot of the Caribbean destinations have dropped restrictions. But again, you know, you never know. There could be an island here or there that does require either testing or want you to fill out a passenger locator form. So just very important to make sure that you check with that destination.”

She recommends packing extra COVID test kits with you just in case you feel ill during your trip and travel insurance in the event that you have to extend your stay unexpectedly.

“Travel insurance is extremely important to have with airlines having last minute schedule changes, flight delays due to weather, and mechanical issues,” said Marley. “It’s very important to make sure you have travel insurance because they can cover you for trip delay or travel interruption.”

Be prepared for the flight cancellations and delays that we saw in the spring to continue into the summer.  And, remember, under federal law, if an airline cancels or significantly changes your flight itinerary and you choose not to accept the alternative offer by the carrier, you’re eligible for a refund.   

What constitutes a significant schedule change varies by airline, so check their policies.  

And, although we are just gearing up for summer, and you probably don’t want to hear this,  travel experts say right now you should really be thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas flights.  You need to book early to get the best deals for those busy times.  

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Budget-Friendly Summer Travel Tips – NECN

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Tips for Budget-friendly Luxury Travel in 2022

Are you planning a lavish trip with a limited budget? Traveling allows you to relax, connect and explore the outside world. Although planning a budget-friendly luxury vacation is not easy, it is not impossible with proper planning. Some tips and tricks can help you travel on a budget without sacrificing the luxurious feel you desire.

Continue reading to learn tips and tricks for a luxurious budget-friendly trip for the utmost gateway experience.

1. Travel in the offseason

One of the best tricks to follow if you want to have a budget-friendly luxury vacation is to travel in the offseason. Traveling out of peak season is relatively cheaper for flights, restaurants, and places of stay than during peak season when prices fluctuate significantly because more and more people are on holiday. Also, during high seasons, you get plenty of relaxation time since there are usually fewer crowds and queues in popular tourist attraction venues. Consequently, you get more choices regarding restaurants and lounges.

2. Book in advance

Another surefire tip to follow if you want to have an excellent trip for less is to book everything in advance from ticket to accommodation. Usually, travel and accommodation expenses fluctuate depending on several factors, such as increased fuel prices and inflation. Therefore, booking upfront can make a lot of difference in terms of rates.

3. Take advantage of loyalty programs

When planning for a luxurious vacation, it is best to enroll in loyalty programs if you are yet to and earn redeemable points that can enable you to save big. Nowadays, many airlines and hotels offer customers discounts and loyalty programs with spendable points. For example, most popular airlines offer their clients redeemable miles they can use for free flights, upgrades, shop duty-free, or book a car rental. Such programs can help you save some pennies during your luxury travel.

4. Choose lesser known destinations

The destinations you choose for your vacation significantly impact the travel cost. So if you plan to go for luxurious travel but not with a big budget, you can opt to travel to a less popular destination. Usually, popular destinations tend to be significantly expensive since more and more people visit the place and, therefore, are not economical for a luxury budget traveler. Furthermore, visiting less popular destinations allows you to find luxury hotels and accommodations at a cheaper rate.

5. Luxury car rental

Means of transport make all the difference when on a luxurious vacation. Spoil yourself with a fancy rental car instead of using public means of transportation or a standard rental vehicle. It doesn’t have to be expensive but one offering comfort. For instance, at Murcia Corvera airport, you can get cheap and luxurious car hire companies, including Avis, rmu, and Alamo. When choosing a rental car, ensure you check on the insurance coverage offered and whether the company provides an extra driver or not. Also, a car hire company offering a car upgrades option will be ideal.

As you can see, it is possible to enjoy luxury travel even with a limited budget. Traveling during the off-season, booking in advance, and taking advantage of loyalty programs can help you save big while on a lavish vacation. Also, choosing less popular destinations and renting cheap luxury car rentals are some tips that can help take luxurious travel without compromising your comfort and budget.

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How To Plan a Budget-Friendly Road Trip for Spring or Summer

AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

The summer of the road trip is back. Although travel restrictions related to COVID-19 are beginning to loosen, a set of wheels and the open road remain the safest way to avoid crowds as we head into the spring and summer vacation season.

Read: COVID-Safe Travel Plans To Make Now To Save Money

In its 2021 Trend Report, Vrbo said 59% of families surveyed say they are more likely to drive instead of fly on their next trip. With RV sales projected to have a record year in 2021, according to the RV Industry Association, many road trippers will also be out taking their new mobile hotels for a spin and embracing the RV lifestyle.

While it tends to be cheaper than air travel, road trips can still end up costing a lot. From gas and food to lodging and activities, your carefree adventure could turn into a four-figure credit card bill.

To help save cash, we turned to Tonya Denmark, a self-described “map crazed, detail oriented obsessive planner” who runs the Detail Oriented Traveler website and blog, for tips.

Read on for some of her top budget-friendly trip tips.

Last updated: April 15, 2021

Weekend is a great day for a picnic.

Weekend is a great day for a picnic.

1. Pack the Cooler

“My number one tip to save money on the road is to pack a cooler full of food,” Denmark of Detail Oriented Traveler said. “It’s so easy, especially as a family of four, to drop $40 at a fast food restaurant when that $40 could feed you that entire road trip.”

Denmark is always scoping 2-for-1 deals at the grocery store to stock the pantry with future road trip snacks. She also premakes sandwiches for planned picnic lunches at scenic rest areas. “You can stop at some beautiful places and stretch your legs without spending any money,” she said.

Plus, making your own food rather than hitting the drive-thru probably means you’ll eat healthier, too.

See: 16 Ways To Save Money on Food

Young woman on top of Yosemite valley, USA drinking water from reusable bottle.

Young woman on top of Yosemite valley, USA drinking water from reusable bottle.

2. Pack Water and Ice

Buying water along the way is a completely unnecessary expense when you can fill up from the tap at home. All those little plastic bottles are also terrible for the environment.

Denmark fills up a large 3- or 5-gallon jug and reusable water bottles at home and then refills them from taps throughout her trips. Another trick: Skip the bagged ice for your cooler. “Instead of buying bagged ice, we fill half-gallon milk jugs with water, freeze them, and drink it as it melts,” Denmark said.

Discover: 6 Simple Ways To Cut Costs on Your RV Trip

Viewed from the fuel tank.

Viewed from the fuel tank.

3. Maps, Gas and Apps

A number of different gas apps can be a big help in getting the best gas prices. Denmark’s favorites are GasBuddy and iExit, both of which map current gas prices in your location to help you find the cheapest spot to fill up. iExit also covers food and lodging options mapped to upcoming highway exits.

If you’re a member of a warehouse retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club, stopping for gas whenever you see one will usually beat gas station prices. Denmark is also a huge fan of gas station rewards programs, which will score you free or discounted snacks along the way.

More: 20 Ways to Pay Less at Costco

Beautiful twin sisters driving a car and enjoying summer road trip.

Beautiful twin sisters driving a car and enjoying summer road trip.

4. Go Easy on the Gas

Denmark also advises road trippers to just slow down. “An eco-friendly way to save money is to watch your speed,” she said. “We all want to get there faster, but every five miles faster you drive adds an additional 20 cents per gallon, and it really doesn’t save you that much time.”

By keeping your speed consistent and using cruise control when you can, it helps your fuel efficiency. Plus, it reminds you to enjoy the journey.

Another important fuel efficiency helper is to remember to check your tire pressure before you go. Making sure your tires are properly inflated will mean filling up the tank less frequently. Denmark also relies on her GPS to track accidents and re-route when necessary to avoid idling in traffic as your gas money dissipates through your tail pipe.

Need a Ride?: The Most Reliable Car Brands on the Road

Brussels, Belgium - Januari 12, 2016: Luxury interior on a Range Rover offroad SUV car.

Brussels, Belgium – Januari 12, 2016: Luxury interior on a Range Rover offroad SUV car.

5. Car Entertainment

Staying entertained on the road doesn’t have to cost anything, and that’s never been more true than now, with all the electronic devices that usually come with us. One of Denmark’s favorite resources for loading up those devices, though, is pretty old-school. “I think a lot of people don’t realize how much is available from the library,” she said.

If you have an in-car entertainment system, you can check out DVDs. You can also download digital audiobooks for free. “Listening to a family-friendly audiobook can be a great way to pass the time in the car,” Denmark said.

See: Streaming Services That Offer the Best Variety of Movies for Your Family

Glacier National Park, Montana, USA - August 4, 2016: Visitors to Glacier National Park touring the park along the breathtaking 'Going To The Sun Road' in cars or in park tour buses.

Glacier National Park, Montana, USA – August 4, 2016: Visitors to Glacier National Park touring the park along the breathtaking ‘Going To The Sun Road’ in cars or in park tour buses.

6. Know Your Colors

For free attractions along the way, the magic color is brown. “Look for signs that are brown,” Denmark said. “Those are your historical landmarks, parks, and sites of interest that are free.”

Denmark also uses the Roadtrippers app to help find free roadside attractions, from historical landmarks to offbeat curios. “You can make a whole trip out finding weird and wacky roadside attractions. This is where it’s all about the journey and not the destination,” Denmark said.

Get Outside: Your Tax Dollars Are Paying For These National Parks, Go Visit!

car packed with camping gear

car packed with camping gear

7. Camp on the Cheap

Depending on where you pitch your tent or park your RV, camping fees can sometimes cost as much as a hotel. If you do a lot of camping, consider signing up for a membership to clubs like Harvest Hosts or Boondockers Welcome, which allow free stays on private lands for an annual fee of around $50-$80.

Lower prices can also be found in state and county campgrounds, where sites typically run in the $10-$15 nightly range.

Points Pointers: 10 Credit Cards To Consider for Travel Rewards

Family having fun on summer vacations.

Family having fun on summer vacations.

8. Keep the Hotels Simple

Denmark likes to pick one hotel brand or chain and try to stick with it for most of her hotel stays. Not only do you know what to expect, but you can sign up for their rewards program to earn points toward future stays. She also keeps her eye out for lodging that offers free breakfast. “Generally the savings in hotel costs between one with breakfast and one without is negligible or non-existent,” she said.

If your overnight destination is a major city, it’s also better to look around the outskirts, where prices are typically lower than in city centers.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How To Plan a Budget-Friendly Road Trip for Spring or Summer

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