With inflation at more than 8.5 percent, airfare remains staggering, hotels provoke sticker shock, and gas prices are still a dollar more per gallon than this time last year in most Western states. So what can budget-minded travelers do to secure reasonably priced travel this holiday season?
Plan ahead and be flexible.
“The key to finding the best deals on holiday travel is being flexible, both with your dates as well as your destination,” says Matthew Kepnes, the travel blogger known as Nomadic Matt. With airfare and car rental rates through the roof, he notes, the more flexible you can be, the more likely you are to find a deal.
If your dates and destinations aren’t rigid, adds AAA Travel Product Marketer Roberta Christman, confirm that there aren’t special events happening wherever you’re headed before you book, which may jack up hotel rates.
Additionally, Kepnes advises considering places that are a bit off the radar. “Post-pandemic ‘revenge travel’ has flooded many of the world's popular destinations,” he says, “so you'll not only have to deal with higher prices, but you'll be shoulder to shoulder with other travelers. To beat the crowds and pay less, head to less-visited destinations instead.”
When planning ahead, consider that booking a longer stay can often be a better deal than a quick visit. How so? “Because you'll be able to take advantage of long-term discounts for accommodation,” Kepnes says. Hotels, vacation rentals, hostels, and guesthouses will often give you discounted rates for longer stays. “That lowers your daily accommodation cost and gives you more time to spend enjoying your destination,” he says. On top of that, if you plan to stay somewhere with access to a kitchen, a longer stay lets you buy groceries instead of eating out, stretching your budget even more.