5 quick and easy tips to stretch your summer travel budget

TRAVEL & LEISURE — Many of the country’s leading travel experts predict an increase in travel this summer. It’s no surprise that after months of restrictions, Americans are ready to embark on their next adventures. While popular destinations like Yosemite National Park are likely to be open and welcoming, the increased traffic combined with higher prices may result in more expensive travel.

Image by Eva Darron.

1. Be flexible on travel dates and destinations.

Unless your trip is tied to a specific event or occasion, try searching with flexible dates to find the best rates available. Likewise, if you know you want to get away from it all but aren’t sure where, try researching destinations that offer promotions or special offers for travel during certain times.

Image of an Italian seaside village.

Image by Jack Ward.

2. Consider trip interruption and cancellation policies.

Contingency planning can help protect you if a trip has to end early or be canceled altogether. Unless you have travel insurance, you risk losing money on non-reimbursable expenses such as flights, event tickets or tours. However, some travel agencies or your credit card provider may cover reimbursement for certain prepaid expenses. Find out about the options available before you travel to avoid additional headaches when the unexpected happens during a trip.

3. Get rewarded no matter how you travel.

Using your credit card rewards to offset travel costs is a smart strategy, but not everyone wants or needs perks like exclusive miles or points to use with just one travel partner. travel. With point-based travel rewards cards, the more places you visit, the more rewards you earn along the way that can be redeemed for future experiences, statement credits, gift cards and more. This means that no matter which hotel chain you stay at, which car rental company you select or which airline you fly with – or mix and match to get the best deals – the adventurers of everyday have the opportunity to earn reward points for doing the things they love.

Image of a Mayan pyramid.

Image by Arthur Cofresi.

4. Develop a realistic budget.

When planning a trip, it’s easy to focus on big expenses like plane tickets and hotel rooms. The reality is that when you add up all the little expenses, you can spend a lot more than you think. To plan a more accurate budget, be sure to consider expenses such as dining out, paying for fuel at the pump, and tickets to attractions and events. Also, don’t forget the charges that add up, like tips for housekeeping, checked bags, Wi-Fi, parking, and souvenirs.

5. Research and book free and discounted attractions.

Some attractions offer discounts for buying tickets in advance online, discounts according to age, or free admission at certain times or dates, so be sure to find out in advance about the attractions you hope to visit. If you’re a travel rewards credit card holder, start your search by reviewing your redemption options. If your card offers flexible options by booking through a specific partner site or dedicated travel platform, you may be able to redeem points or have your spend used to earn more rewards for the cost of experiences, entertainment and other expenses during your trip.

Image of a VW bus driving through the mountains in Utah.

“Not all who wander are lost.” – JRR Tolkien