The summer is my favorite time to travel. I love the hot weather. In general, it seems that cities are more vibrant and energetic during the summer. As I saw this previous weekend at the airport, I’m not the only one that enjoys traveling during the summer. The airport was filled with hundreds of folks. It makes me wonder if they paid an arm and a leg to travel or did they get a deal. Hopefully, the latter happened. In today’s post, I want to discuss a few budget summer travel tips.
The first tip can be applied for any time you want to travel. It doesn’t just have to be for summer. How can you expect to do anything without saving money beforehand? The more expensive the destination, the earlier you should start saving. For my most recent trip, I started saving in late May because I knew that I wasn’t going to need that much money. For other trips, I save a couple of hundred bucks each month.
Planning ahead can save you so much during summer travel. It allows you to save on flights and lodging because the earlier that you plan ad finalize things, the sooner you can book them and therefore save more money. Planning ahead allows you to have a better selection of flights and hotel rooms to choose from. A good rule of thumb is to book flights at least six weeks in advance. There are several travel websites that you can compare prices on. Some of my favorites are Priceline and Kayak.
Decide a date
As you know, summer is very busy for travel. The kids are out of school as well as the teachers. Since everyone is out on vacation, there is a better time to travel as a family. The summer travel season basically starts in late May and lasts until mid-September. Any time during that period is usually good to travel minus three dates. The dates that I would consider avoiding travel is Memorial Day Weekend, The Fourth of July, and Labor Day Weekend. During major holidays airlines usually, charge more for flights. Hotels have been known to raise their nightly rates too during that time.
Packing light is the next tip. Most airlines charge for checked luggage. If your luggage weighs more than a certain amount, they will charge you more to put it on the plane. Fortunately, there are airlines like Southwest that will let you check two bags for free. If you pack extremely light, you can put your items in your carry-on luggage. Most airlines allow their customers to carry on one bag for free. The carry-on bag has to be a certain size. If the bag is bigger, the airlines will make you check it in.
The final summer travel tip is to drive. If you don’t have a problem driving to your destinations, this is an option that you should consider. Compared to a few years ago, gas prices are much lower. There are some places in the country where regular unleaded gas is less than $2 per gallon. If your car gets good mileage, it makes sense to drive some places instead of flying.