1. Find cheaper flights
Those who are strategic to save spend 23% less on flights than those who are not, according to a survey of budget travelers by booking site VacationRenter.
Top strategies include booking with a budget carrier (52%), sticking to carry-on baggage (48%), using points or credit card rewards (39%) and tracking ticket prices (28%), he said.
One in three respondents said they use apps to save money on flights. One such app, Skyscanner, lets users set price alerts, search for flexible flight dates and nearby airports, and mix and match airlines to find the best fares, according to its website. .
Fewer are willing to sacrifice comfort and convenience by booking ‘red-eye’ flights (25%) or choosing a more distant airport (16%).
Price alerts on apps like Skyscanner check fares so travelers don’t have to, alerting them when fares go up or down.
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Having flexible travel dates is one of the best ways to secure a flight deal, according to travel app Hopper, which said departing on a Wednesday instead of a Friday saves around $35 on average. .
The same tactic works for hotel stays, Hopper says. Checking into a hotel for a two-night stay on a Thursday, rather than a Friday or Saturday, can shave an average of $60 off the bill, he said.
Another tactic is to monitor new routes or new air services entering local airports. When an airline adds a new route, competition between carriers can lead to lower airfares, according to Hopper. Airlines often run promotions to spread the word as well, he said.
That’s what happened when Frontier Airlines launched service out of Chicago Midway International Airport this summer, said Hayley Berg, Hopper’s chief economist.
“Airline tickets from Chicago to Tampa went from an average of $278 per ticket to just over $100 per ticket for departures after April 26, when Frontier service began,” he said. she declared. “Rates for later dates retrieved from [about] $187 ticket, nearly $100 less than before Frontier launched.”
To learn about new fares and services, travelers can “sign up for newsletters from your local airport or airlines,” Berg said. Also, “watch for press releases and billboards at your local airport announcing new services.”
2. Consider a cruise
Travelers generally have strong feelings about cruising. But the heavily discounted cruise fares may be enough to win over staunch naysayers.
Since the start of the pandemic, some travel costs have increased by more than 50%, according to a Visa Business and Economic Insights travel report published in June.
But cruise fares remained largely unchanged, according to the report.
Four-night cruises on Carnival Cruise Line in August traveling from Los Angeles to Mexico can be booked for $26 a night, according to booking site Priceline.com. Fares include meals on board but exclude taxes and government fees. Once these fees are added, the cost for two people is $456, or about $57 per person per night.
Similar deals can be found on Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Cayman Islands cruises. Norwegian Cruise Line summer cruises to Alaska start at $58 on Priceline, excluding costs.
In Europe, a four-night cruise to Croatia and Israel starts at $70 per night, while travelers in Asia can cruise from Singapore to Penang, Malaysia, for $80 per night, according to Priceline.
In addition to discounted fares, cruise lines offer other offers to entice passengers to return to sea. Royal Caribbean allows children to sail free on select cruises, while Celebrity Cruises offers onboard credits and savings of up to to $500 on airfare, according to the two companies’ websites.
3. Book new hotels
Researching hotel openings is another way to save money.
The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon, scheduled to open in Bangkok on July 29, is offering a 25% discount on its best available rates for those booking by August 31 through its ‘Start with a Bang’ promotion.
To celebrate its launch, the Royal Uno All Inclusive Resort & Spa is reducing its rates by 25% and offering guests $500 in resort credits, according to a company representative. The resort opened in Cancun, Mexico last month, according to a company representative.
New hotels often accept reservations ahead of official opening dates with discounted rates and other savings available for early bookings.
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This strategy is not without risk, however, as new hotels may experience opening delays. The Royal Uno hotel in Cancun told CNBC that two of its restaurants, as well as the spa and gym, have yet to open but “management has mentioned they will be open at the end of the year. ‘summer”.
It happened to New Zealander Debbie Wong, who booked a vacation at a luxury hotel in Cambodia slated to open in early 2019.
“We had reservations months before but as we got closer to the dates they said they weren’t ready to open,” she said.
Because the trip coincided with the Lunar New Year, other hotels in the area were full, Wong said.
“They then agreed to let us stay for free, with free spa treatments,” she said. “It was 200 employees just for us, another couple and a few people from [the hotel’s] Headquarter.”
Wong said she believes part of the reason the hotel agreed to this arrangement was that she had stayed at the brand’s sister properties in the past.
“It was the most amazing trip we’ve ever been on,” she added.
4. Get the gas covered
Some hotels are directly addressing traveler transportation problems by offsetting rising gas prices.
The Crowne Plaza HY36 in New York, Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio and Hotel Little America in Flagstaff, Arizona offer stays that include a $50 gas card, while guests staying at the Graduate Nashville in Tennessee can get up to $100 off their bills by showing their gas receipts at check-in.
5. Delay summer plans
The advice that surfaced the most in CNBC’s search for cost-saving strategies was to delay plans until late summer or early fall — the so-called “shoulder season.”
Travelers who book summer plans in the last two weeks of August can save an average of $120 per flight, according to Hopper.
According to email subscription service Scott’s Cheap Flights, those with international plans that push their plans back into the fall can save even more. The company directly compared flights to Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico to show how much travelers can save by delaying trips to the fall.
“It’s easy to look at sky-high summer fares and assume the days of cheap flights are over,” said Willis Orlando, the company’s senior product operations specialist.
His answer: “Not so fast.”
“Today’s exorbitant prices are more than likely a temporary reaction to an extreme surge in demand,” he said. And that’s why “there’s never been a better time to be flexible with your plans and travel in low season.”