Determining the true cost of travel takes some effort. What we pay for airfare, hotels, and meals away from home are elements of a budget we want to pin down as much as possible, but that is not always easy. Experts know the cost of travel is rising, but also offer explanations and suggestions on what we can do about it.
Paying attention to prices at the pump, we need not hear from an expert to know that jet fuel prices are probably increasing as well.
“You’ll see gradual increases and then a much bigger jump in April and May when people start shopping for the summer travel season,” says Rick Seaney, CEO of travel website FareCompare.com.
Still, there are ways to save on airline tickets, cruise fares, hotels and more. One trick, normally seen as risky business, is to book later rather than earlier.
“For those of you who are flexible with your travel, it can pay to wait until the last minute,” Steven Fischer, vice president of cruise development at Travel Holdings, Inc. told MarketWatch. “That’s when airlines and cruises need to unload inventory, so stay on top of deals through last minute booking sites like LastMinuteCruises.com and LastMinuteTravel.com. Get a great deal and you don’t have to book 6 months in advance.”Playing it smart when checking into a hotel can help, too. TravelSavingsNut, a website dedicated to providing money saving advice, offers tips and ideas on how to save money when traveling.
“Even if you have a reservation, you may want to consider, before disclosing your reservation to the desk clerk, asking what rooms they have available and the price,” says TravelSavingsNut on its website. “If plenty of rooms are available, you may be quoted a rate lower than your reservation rate for the same type of room. If so, mention to the clerk that the rate is lower and ask that they honor the lower rate. They should be more than willing to do this.“
On the road, eating is a different matter, but USA Today Travel has some ideas to help here, too. Travel expert Pele Omori is a freelance writer specializing in travel and culinary subjects. She has traveled and lived internationally since she was age three and though she likes the idea of cooking when we can, Omori has some other suggestions:
“Stay at a place with a complimentary breakfast; otherwise, eat breakfast at a local bakery. Eating baked goods from local bakeries often costs less than eating at a restaurant or a hotel. Ask locals, such as the hotel staff, about bakeries in the area.
If you are looking to sample the local cuisine, eat lunch at a restaurant instead of dinner. Lunch at most restaurants costs considerably less than dinner at the same eatery. Cut costs further by sharing an entree or having a light meal that consists of soup, salad, or an appetizer.”
We may not be able to do much about the prices charged by airlines, hotels, and restaurants, but taking a step back to consider alternative ways of looking at travel expenses can often make an out of control budget more manageable.