SAN ANTONIO — Cheap travel is a lot harder to find. While you might be ready to take a trip, the travel industry is still recovering.
“Car rental companies had to slash their fleets during the pandemic,” said Melanie Lieberman, senior travel editor with The Points Guy, a website that helps people maximize their travel. “The airlines reduced their service. There’s a lot of demand again for those same type of trips. A lot of travelers are thinking about national park getaways and beach vacations. So if that’s the kind of summer vacation you have in mind, there’s a lot of competition and things are not going to be as affordable as you might expect.”
Many are further delaying the trips they spent the pandemic planning and dream about during stay-at-home orders.
“My husband and I, actually, we’re looking at a trip because we’re ready to get out, and the cost was probably three times what it was before COVID,” said Leigh Singleton, financial education expert for Monifi, a money management app. “So we’re just going to wait.”
Not the news we want to hear when we are itching for a trip, but it should not stop your jet setting. Affordability for some travelers can be an issue as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic.
“As people are getting back out there thinking about summer travel deals are at the top of mind,” Lieberman said. “People are looking for bargains.”
“The last thing we want to do is go on a vacation and put it on a credit card,” said Singleton. “Then we’re saddled with debt that we’re having to pay off over the next year or so.”
Try to take a mid-week trip, if you have flexibility with dates, to cut costs.
Those on a budget might also look to stay closer to home.
“I would recommend typing in 10 great places to go in wherever you live and all sorts of things will pop up,” said Singleton.
The beach and national parks are likely to be packed as popular travel destinations, so look at other locals.
“Maybe you can consider a city vacation or somewhere a little off the beaten path,” Lieberman said. “That’s where you can still find some good deals.”
Or try a new activity near home.
“Geo cashing is a great thing to do that I’ve just discovered,” Singleton said. “It’s free. You download an app and it gives you the clues and directions to where these trinkets are hidden. The first time I did it, we found ten different geo caching sites within two miles of our home.”
Plus, look at towns near you within driving distance.
“Find a small town near your city and visit that because small towns, their downtowns have shops,” said Singleton. “It’s a lot of fun just to poke around down there.”
You could reduce travel costs by seeing who know outside of your hometown.
“If you are going to travel somewhere and hotel costs are so expensive right now, maybe you can find a friend or a family member that you could stay with at the destination that you are wanting to go,” Singleton said.
Wherever you decide to go, read the fine print before you book.
“Double and triple check those cancelation policies because that’s one of the easiest ways to give yourself some peace of mind if you need flexibility,” Lieberman said.
You will still be able to take time away without taking too much money out of your budget.
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