Eileen Ambrose of The Baltimore Sun warns that this summer deals may be hard to find. She does, however, offer some great tips to keep costs down on summer travel while keeping enjoyment high.
Expect higher airfares:
Rising fuel prices, growing consumer demand and fewer seats because of airline consolidation have pushed airfares higher.
Domestic flights cost 6 percent or so more than a year ago, and international flights have risen more than that, travel experts say.
Break up a trip:
You pay about 20 percent more for a nonstop flight, so it’s cheaper to use connecting flights, Seaney said.
You also can save money by taking a less direct route or using more than one airline.
Timing is everything:
Cut costs by avoiding peak travel times. Seaney advises scheduling airline departures and returns for the least expensive days—Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Early-morning and evening flights tend to be cheaper, too, he said.
Orbitz found that more people plan to travel in July than in June or August. You can save as much as 6 percent on hotels by staying in June instead of July, Tornatore said. And you’ll find more attractive deals for family destinations, such as Orlando, Fla., in mid-to late August when kids head back to school.
Most people want to go to Aspen, Colo., or the Caribbean in the winter. But travel experts say ski resorts in the summer are inexpensive and have a lot of activities, such as hiking and festivals. June and July tend to be affordable times in the Caribbean, Tornatore said.
Not everyone wants a beach. Bigcity fans should time their visits for the weekends, after business travelers and local residents have left town and hotel rates drop.
Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel, said Chicago made her site’s list of bargain destinations because of the affordable airfare and attractive hotel rates.
Hoteliers in New York are worried about filling their rooms because so many of their summer customers are from Europe, where the economy is weak, said Clem Bason, president of Hotwire Group, which owns travel-related sites. This could mean some big hotel savings for American travelers to the Big Apple this summer, he said.
For other bargain cities, Bason recommends Washington in August—when Congress and other government workers abandon the city—and Vancouver, British Columbia, as a lower-cost alternative to high-priced Seattle.
To make up for higher airfare, budget-conscious travelers are trying to trim the cost of lodging, Banas said. If they usually go with a four-star hotel, they might opt for three stars, she said, or stay five nights instead of seven.
And they’re looking beyond hotels for less expensive accommodations.
“Vacation rentals are getting increasingly popular,” she said. Rentals can include flats, villas, vacation homes or even a room in someone’s house, she said.
The savings can be sizable compared to a hotel, especially when groups of four or more rent a vacation home.
The recession gave us the word “staycation,” for those who could only afford to vacation in their hometowns.
You can read the entire article here. Have fun saving money on summer travel!