1. Find cheaper flights
Those who are strategic when it comes to saving spend 23% less on flights than those who are not, according to a survey among budget travelers from the booking site VacationRenter.
Top strategies include booking with a budget operator (52%), sticking to one carry-on (48%), using credit card points or rewards (39%) and tracking ticket prices (28%), it says.
One in three respondents said they use apps to save money on flights. One such app, Skyscanner, allows users to enter price alerts, search for flexible flight dates and nearby airports, and mix and match airlines to find the best prices, according to the website.
Fewer people are willing to sacrifice comfort and convenience by booking “red-eye” flights (25%) or choosing an airport that is further away (16%).
Price alerts on apps like Skyscanner check prices so travelers don’t need them, and alert them when prices go up or down.
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Having flexible travel dates is one of the best ways to get a flight quote, according to the travel app Hopper, which said that departing on a Wednesday instead of a Friday saves around $ 35 on average.
The same tactic works for hotel stays, says Hopper. Checking into a hotel for a two-night stay on a Thursday, instead of a Friday or Saturday, can give an average of $ 60 off the bill, it says.
Another tactic is to look for new routes or new airline services arriving at local airports. When an airline adds a new route, competition between airlines can cause airline tickets to fall, according to Hopper. Airlines often launch campaigns to get the word out as well, it says.
That’s what happened when Frontier Airlines started services from Chicago Midway International Airport this summer, said Hayley Berg, Hopper’s chief economist.
“Airfare from Chicago to Tampa dropped from an average of $ 278 per ticket to just over $ 100 per ticket for departures after April 26, when Frontiers’ service began,” she said. Rates for later dates restored back to [about] $ 187 ticket, still nearly $ 100 less than before Frontier’s launch. “
To learn about new rates and services, travelers can “sign up for newsletters from your local airport or airline,” Berg said. Also keep an eye out for press releases and signs at your local airport announcing new services.
2. Consider a cruise
Travelers usually have strong feelings for cruising. But heavily discounted cruise rates may be enough to convince loyal noes.
Since the start of the pandemic, some travel costs have increased by more than 50%, according to a travel report from Visa Business and Economic Insights published in June.
But cruise prices have largely remained unchanged, according to the report.
Four-night cruises on the Carnival Cruise Line in August that travel from Los Angeles to Mexico can be booked for $ 26 per night, according to booking site Priceline.com. Prices include meals on board, but exclude taxes and government fees. When these fees are added, the cost for two people is $ 456 – or about $ 57 per person per night.
Similar deals can be found on cruises to the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and the Cayman Islands. Summer cruises on the Norwegian Cruise Line to Alaska start at $ 58 on Priceline, exclusive fees.
In Europe, a four-night cruise to Croatia and Israel starts at $ 70 per night, while travelers in Asia can cruise from Singapore to Penang, Malaysia for $ 80 per night, according to Priceline.
In addition to discounted rates, cruise lines are launching other deals to lure passengers back to sea. Royal Caribbean lets kids sail for free on select cruises, while Celebrity Cruises offers on-board credits and savings of up to $ 500 on airline tickets, according to both companies’ websites.
Book at new hotels
Finding hotel openings is another way to save money.
Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon, scheduled to open in Bangkok on July 29, offers a 25% discount on the best available rates for those booking by August 31 through the “Start with a Bang” promotion.
To celebrate the launch, Royal Uno All Inclusive Resort & Spa discounts rates by 25% and gives guests $ 500 in resort credit, according to a company representative. The resort opened in Cancun, Mexico last month, according to a company representative.
New hotels often accept reservations before official opening dates that come with discounted rates and other savings available for early bookings.
Peter Cade | Stein | Getty pictures
However, this strategy is not without risk, as new hotels may incur opening delays. Cancun’s Royal Uno hotel told CNBC that two of the restaurants, plus the spa and gym, have not opened yet, but that “management mentioned that they will be open in late summer.”
This happened to New Zealander Debbie Wong, who booked a holiday at a luxury hotel in Cambodia, which is scheduled to open in early 2019.
“We had booked months before, but as we approached the dates, they said they were not ready to open,” she said.
Because the trip coincided with the lunar new year, other hotels in the area were fully booked, Wong said.
“They then agreed to let us stay for free, with free spa treatments,” she said. “There were 200 employees for just us, another couple and some people from [the hotel’s] headquarters.”
Wong said she believes part of the reason the hotel agreed to this arrangement was that she had lived on the brand’s sister properties before.
“It was the most amazing trip we’ve ever had,” she added.
4. Cover the gas
Some hotels address travelers’ transportation problems directly by offsetting rising gas prices.
New York’s Crowne Plaza HY36, The San Antonios Hotel Valencia Riverwalk and the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona, have stays that include a $ 50 gas card, while guests staying at Tennessee’s Graduate Nashville can get up to $ 100 off bills by showing gas receipts at check-in.
5. Postpone summer plans
The tip that appeared most in CNBC’s search for money-saving strategies was to postpone the plans until the end of the summer or the beginning of the autumn – the so-called “shoulder season”.
Travelers booking summer plans for the last two weeks of August can save an average of $ 120 per flight, according to Hopper.
Those with international plans pushing their plans out this fall are set to save even more, according to Scott’s Cheap Flights email service. The company compared direct flights to Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico to show how much travelers can save by postponing trips until the fall.
“It’s easy to look at sky-high summer prices and assume the days of cheap flights are over,” said Willis Orlando, the company’s senior product operations specialist.
His response: “Not so fast.”
“Today’s soaring prices are more likely than not a temporary response to an extreme increase in demand,” he said. And that’s why “there has never been a better time to be flexible with your plans and travel during the shoulder season.”