The 2021 summer travel season may have been cut short or failed to meet expectations when COVID-19 returned in full force with the Delta variant, but travel is back in full force in 2022.
The travel search site Skyscanner discovered that summer 2022 flight bookings for U.S. travelers increased by 600% between January and February 2022, VP of Strategy Naomi Hahn told Conde Nast Traveler.
Those travelers who booked early were smart, as they may have saved 53% compared to 2019 prices. With the war in Ukraine and rising gas prices, travel costs have gone up significantly in the past few months, but it’s not too late to save, experts say.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
Your trip’s cost hinges significantly on your travel destination, how you get there, and where you stay while you’re there. Airbnb or VRBO rentals can often be cheaper, especially if you opt to rent one room in a larger house, according to the blog Cheapism.com.
Choosing rural spots or locations off the beaten path can also reduce travel costs — and provide a unique experience you wouldn’t find at a tourist destination like Hawaii or Orlando.
Cash In Those Miles
If you’ve been hoarding frequent flyer miles or hotel points during the pandemic, now’s the time to cash them in, advises Motley Fool’s The Ascent. Using points can help reduce the overall costs of your trip, or even help you afford some extras or a second getaway.
After all, taking a trip after the last two years our world has had is a great way to splurge after you’ve denied yourself the experiences you love for so long.
Book With the Right Credit Cards
The best travel rewards credit cards provide trip insurance, lost luggage insurance and access to airport lounges. These perks can make your travel more enjoyable and give you peace of mind.
Once you reach your destination, you may want to pull out a card, like the Bank of America Premium Rewards card that offers double rewards (or more) on restaurant dining and tourist attractions and experiences. For other purchases, you’ll want a card that rewards you for everyday spending to ensure you’re garnering points for every penny you spend on your trip.
Some people find it helpful to list the bonus points categories for each card, or even label each card with a sticky note so they know which one to grab for each purchase.
Whatever you do, make sure you have the funds to cover those credit card bills when you get home. High-interest charges erase the benefits of any cash back or rewards points.
Pay Off Debt First
Of course, if you’re saddled with high-interest credit card debt or living paycheck to paycheck, you may want to hold off on booking that dream vacation until you have a better handle on your finances.
Don’t give up on your dreams, though. You might be able to plan a shorter trip or a local getaway. Also, consider transferring higher interest debt to a 0% interest card, freeing up a little extra money to not only pay down debt faster but splurge on a trip before the end of summer.
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