4 Best Ways to Travel on a Budget This Summer

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  • Those looking to travel this summer may face higher costs due to inflation and high gas prices.
  • By prioritizing your travel goals, you may find destinations at a fraction of the cost that give you the same vacation experience.
  • You can get more bang for your travel buck by using online tools to find the best air and lodging deals, as well as taking advantage of travel loyalty programs.

Traveling on a budget doesn’t have to be complicated.

The internet has made it much easier to plan a summer vacation. But while you can search and compare online the best prices for flights, hotels, and rental cars, it can be difficult to find the best bargains. Prices may be higher than what you have seen in the past, given high inflation, record gasoline prices, and the crisis in Ukraine. Here are four tips you can use to travel on a budget this summer.

1. Choose your destination wisely

A big component of how much your summer trip will cost is the destination. Start off by first determining your main travel priorities. Is it just to relax? Or is it to experience a different culture or even learn something new? Based on what you want to get out of your trip, you may be able to find inexpensive locations to get the same experience.

Instead of going to the typical tourist traps, look for destinations that are similar but at a discount. Rather than traveling overseas for an extended period of time, look at planning multiple day trips close to where you live. You may find some great locations close to home that can offer similar vacation experiences and are inexpensive while still meeting your travel priorities.

2. Use third-party sites to find the cheapest flight deals

If your trip involves making airline reservations, look at sites such as priceline.com, kayak.com or expedia.com. Third-party sites like these do the research for you and find the cheapest available flights. Since flight prices change frequently, you can set up alerts in case certain flights fall into your travel budget. Many of these sites also have a price-match or lowest-price guarantee.

If you have flexibility in your travel dates and the airports where you arrive and depart, many of these sites offer extra discounts. To compare flight costs, also visit the airline’s website directly. There may be some flights that are not offered through third-party vendors.

3. Look at hotel alternatives

Airfare and lodging are typically the two biggest expenses when taking a vacation. Airbnb has become a popular alternative to find lodging at more reasonable rates. Since safety is important, Airbnb vets hosts and awards certain properties the title of "super host." You can also check reviews to help you make a more informed decision. Hostels are another inexpensive lodging alternative.

If you are driving cross-country, look at stopping at camping sites. Reserving a site is relatively inexpensive, and many locations have bathrooms and showers you can use. You can also look at staying with friends or family. It's a good way to catch up and also save on lodging costs.

4. Join a travel rewards program

Many credit cards offer travel rewards as well as airline rewards. These loyalty-based programs mean you can earn miles or points through everyday spending. Many of these cards will give bonus miles just for opening up an account.

By joining an airlines’ frequent flyer program, you can earn membership status that gives you multiple travel benefits. Once you have accumulated enough miles, you can use them to get free upgrades, free luggage check-in, and even free flights. You can also earn status at hotel chains, which offer benefits such as a free stay, or enhanced room upgrades.

By planning ahead, you can choose destinations that meet your travel priorities at a discount. Continue shopping and comparing for the cheapest flights as well as lodging accommodations. You can also earn free flights and lodging using credit card and loyalty points. These tips can help you travel on a budget this summer.

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