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It’s not your imagination. Travel got ten percent more expensive in 2022 compared to 2021 and there’s no end in sight. But don’t fret. We’ve got you covered with three easy ways to save on travel in 2023.
Choose Your Experience, Not Your Destination
You’ll find that once you choose where to go, your price trajectory is set into place. Destination choice is the single most important price driver and by choosing a destination that costs both less to get to and less once you get there, you’ll have more money left in your pocket.
Did you know that there are over 200,000 miles of coastline in the world? If that’s the case, why does everyone rush to the same beaches over and over again? By thinking bigger you can have a similar shore experience for a lot less.
For instance, let’s say you wanted to go to Aruba. Here’s what an oceanview room at a Hilton will cost you for a week in January. You could also get a gardenview room on points for 480,000 Hilton Honors points for the week.
Let’s take a look at what moving 400 miles west can get you on the same dates, even facing the same direction on the same sea. Consider Cartagena, Columbia instead of Aruba. By doing so, you could save big. Airfares are similar, but the hotel prices are wildly different. An oceanview room here costs 216,000 points for a week, less than half the price of Aruba, but take a look at the cash price.
That’s right—the Cartagena beach hotel is a whopping $5,000 less than the one in Aruba for a week-long stay. That’s a lot of clams or whatever seafood catches your fancy. If the hotel’s beach doesn’t appeal to you, take a one-hour ferry ride to the Rosario Islands, which contains a national park created to protect the native beauty. And by visiting Cartagena you’ll also get the added bonus of sunset strolling in a beautifully walled Old Town just bursting with colonial charm.
Make Your Meals
While some view cooking on vacation as heresy, the truth is that if you select a suite with a kitchen or a vacation rental, you’ll rack up the savings. Industry trends show that booking suites has shown strong demand over the past few months and it’s for good reason. Many people got used to social distancing and cooking their own meals when they travel and realized it means you can not only save money, you can eat a healthier diet than your standard roadside fare.
Self-catering can offer the best bang for your buck in prime tourist destinations where prices for everything are off the charts. If you are mouse-house bound, consider the Staybridge Suites Anaheim at the Park, which is walking distance to Disneyland. Not only does the hotel offer expansive rooms with full kitchens, breakfast is free, too. You can use your IHG One Rewards points to pay for the room and with certain IHG credit cards, your fourth award night is free.
Garden Your Reservations
The rare upside from the last two years is that most airlines have removed their previously onerous change and cancellation fees. Now if a price drops, you can rebook your flights and collect the difference as credit for your next trip. You can set a price alert on Google Flights and let it do the work for you.
Just make sure you aren’t booking basic economy flights as they generally aren’t covered. While basic economy may look like a deal, you may pay more in the end if you need to change or cancel your flight.
Most hotel reservations can also be canceled and rebooked within a certain time frame, which will depend on the property. But a word of advice—book your new reservation before you cancel your old one or you might get stuck without a place to stay.
Increased prices don’t have to keep you home. Use our tips and you’ll be able to stretch your vacation budget as far as you want to go.