June 13, 2024


sights and trips

Americans Are Spending 42% More on Travel This Year. Here Are 4 Ways to Save

A family loading bags into a car in their driveway in preparation for a road trip.

Image source: Getty Images

These are all tips worth trying.

Key points

  • Data reveals that travel is costing Americans a lot more money this year than last.
  • If you have travel plans, it pays to do what you can to keep your costs down.
  • Using travel credit cards and driving instead of flying are just two of the ways you can save.

It’s hardly a secret that inflation is wreaking havoc on a lot of people’s finances. These days, everything from housing to food to utilities is more expensive than it’s been in a long time. And for cash-strapped consumers, that’s a problem.

Meanwhile, the travel industry is by no means immune to inflation. And while Americans are clearly eager to travel (especially after being shut in during the earlier stages of the pandemic), many are also racking up giant credit card tabs to make that happen.

In May, the average Personal Capital user spent $1,304 on travel. That represents a 42% uptick from May of 2021.

If you intend to do your share of traveling this year, it pays to try to eke out savings so you don’t wind up in debt. Here are some ways to do just that.

1. Travel at off-peak times

Many people like to travel during the summer since it’s when the weather tends to be mild and more cooperative. And for families with school-aged children, summertime travel is sometimes the only option.

But if you don’t have to travel during the summer, don’t. In many cases, traveling in July, August, or very early September will cost more than traveling during the latter part of September and during the fall. And postponing your plans could mean reaping a nice amount of savings.

2. Hit the road instead of flying if you’re traveling with a group

Gas prices are really high right now, but so is the cost of boarding an airplane. And so if you’re traveling in a group, it could pay to carpool to your destination rather than pay a premium to book a flight.

Furthermore, airline cancellations are up this summer in a very big way, so if you decide to drive to your destination, you might spare yourself some frustration. Bonus: You also won’t have to worry about the cost of renting a car once you arrive at your vacation spot.

3. Use the right credit cards

Some credit cards offer generous rewards for flights, hotel stays, and meals and entertainment on-the-go. It pays to take a look at your current credit card collection and make sure their travel rewards programs are top notch. If not, it may be time to apply for a new credit card.

Furthermore, if you intend to fly a lot this year, it could pay to sign up for a travel rewards credit card. These cards commonly offer perks that could result in substantial savings, like free checked baggage.

4. But seek out cash discounts when possible

While it definitely pays to take advantage of credit card rewards, in some cases, paying for aspects of your travel with cash will make more sense. Some gas stations, for example, offer a deep discount for cash fill-ups, so that’s a scenario where using a credit card isn’t your best bet. You may also be able to negotiate better rates for things like tours and even restaurant meals if you’re willing and able to pay in cash.

The fact that Americans are spending more on travel this year isn’t surprising. But it pays to employ these strategies for trimming your costs, especially at a time when inflation is soaring.

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