Save big with these fall travel tips and deals

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This was the summer that everyone decided to travel again. Sixty percent of Americans had plans for a summer vacation, according to a Deloitte Summer 2022 Travel Survey. And good for them. After being locked down for more than two years due to the pandemic, we all deserved a much-needed getaway.

But my goodness, it was that hard-earned vacation this year. With high gas prices, road trips were expensive. With limited flights, expensive airline tickets, and frequent flight delays and cancellations, flying was tumultuous. This summer saw the highest airfare prices recorded in the past five years, according to Hopper, a flight price tracking app. Once you got to your destination, limited staff and large crowds often meant more waiting lines. Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector is still below its February 2020 level at 7.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In short, high fuel prices, labor shortages, and post-pandemic wanderlust created a perfect storm. “Traveling this summer required a lot of flexibility and being creative, which gave a whole new meaning to the need for a sense of adventure,” says Mollie Krengel, founder of Wild Bum, a platform for curated travel guides.

Summer, however, is always the busiest and most expensive time to travel. But fall? That’s when you can expect fewer crowds and more savings. “With so much demand and chaos in the travel industry this summer, the good news is that we are seeing flight prices drop for the fall, which is a relief to people who were surprised by the prices they saw this summer.” says Melanie Lieberman. , global features editor at The Points Guy, a travel intelligence site. “We’re encouraging travelers to think about places that aren’t typically fall destinations. If it’s okay to travel out of season, you can get a better deal.”

Here are some cost-saving tips for traveling this fall and early winter, and some ideas on where to go.

1. Book early

The old travel adage still holds true: don’t wait until the last minute to book because you’ll likely be subject to the highest prices and lowest inventory. So plan ahead. “Be proactive. Track flights and set up alerts to know if the price has dropped,” Lieberman says. Airfare search engine sites like Skyscanner, Scott’s Cheap Flights, and SkiPlagged can help you snap up the best airfares. airfares to your destination, or help you choose a destination with the best deals.

Same with accommodation: book early for the best rates. “We recommend planning your accommodations well in advance, as last-minute reservations tend to be more expensive and harder to find,” says Kristen Bor, founder of Bearfoot Theory, a travel and outdoor blog. At Hotel Zags in downtown Portland, Oregon, get the Book Early, Stay Late package, and if you book at least five days in advance, you’ll get 15 percent off the nightly rate and a late checkout at 2 pm. (You can also borrow a bike, fishing rod, or yoga mat from the hotel’s shed in the lobby.)

2. Be flexible with your dates

“If you can, play around with arrival and departure dates because that’s where you can unlock the biggest deals,” says Lieberman. If you search for flights on Kayak, for example, the site will show you price ranges for different dates, so you can select the cheapest days to travel.

Sometimes the longer you stay, the better the rate. In Austin, Texas, rates are automatically discounted when you book three or more nights at the Heywood Hotel; Ditto at the Carpenter Hotel, which offers you a 15 percent discount on your rate if you book for three nights or more. Sonder, a room-rental site with well-designed hotel-style rooms for rent everywhere from New Orleans to Barcelona, ​​encourages longer visits by offering 25 percent off if you stay a week and up to 40 percent if you stay longer.

Boutique Homes, which lists unique vacation rentals around the world, has a deals section offering special long-term rates and last-minute discounts. For example, stay at this eclectic home in Granada, Nicaragua through Boutique Homes, and you’ll get 10 percent off the $270 per night rate if you stay for a week.

3. Take a road trip

The best way to save on airfare prices? Ride. Yes, gasoline is also expensive, but try to rent an electric car or not travel too far from home. “Consider renting a motorhome for your trip. It will give you a taste of life in a van, and depending on the region and the length of your road trip, renting a motorhome can be less expensive than booking a hotel every night,” says Bor. “Campgrounds are much cheaper than hotels or Airbnbs.”

Outdoorsy, the peer-to-peer RV and motorhome rental site, now offers Roamly travel insurance and a new option to pay your rental in four interest-free payments. If you drive a motorhome or RV, consider joining an RV club like Boondockers Welcome or Harvest Hosts, where you pay an annual fee and then get unlimited access to stay for free at host properties across the country.

Don’t you want to camp? It’s okay. The new evo Hotel, which opened in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February, currently has a road trip package, where if you book a room at the hotel and drive there, they’ll give you $50 in gas credit with your room. “For help finding the cheapest gas on the go, the Gas Buddy app is a must,” adds Bor. “Pro tip: Gas prices tend to spike on weekends and holidays, so filling up on Monday instead of Sunday will help you save a few cents.”

4. Go further

Be willing to explore off the beaten path for a better deal and a better experience. “When you find dark places, you can find better deals and cooler places with fewer people,” says Krengel. “Any change of scenery does wonders for our mental health, to disconnect from everyday life. Try to rent a small house on a small lake a few hours from home. You don’t have to go far or spend that much to give yourself that getaway experience.”

Say, instead of going to Vermont for the fall foliage in October, where prices and crowds will be at their peak, consider, say, West Virginia, which has beautiful fall hikes, some of the best whitewater rafting of autumn in the country and best offers. . After Labor Day through the end of October, the Summersville Dam releases from Summersville Lake into the Gauley River, creating what is known as the Gauley Season. Adventures on the Gorge organizes day trips in the Upper and Lower Gauley.

5. Consider alternative accommodation

Just like airfare prices, accommodation rates have also increased. You can get hotel deals through the same booking sites that let you buy flights, sites like Kayak, Expedia, or Monondo. There may also be cost-saving benefits to booking an Airbnb. “Reserving a rental property can be a great way to save not only on the price per night, but if you have a kitchen, you’re not paying to go out for every meal,” says Lieberman. “But beware of vacation rental sites and be sure to click through and see the total, as there are cleaning fees and other fees you might not see in the initial room rate.”

If you’re willing to consider more rustic or unique accommodations, check out sites like Hipcamp, GlampingHub, or use Airbnb’s camping filter. You can stay in a cabin in the middle of an organic farm in Ohio for $99 a night through Hipcamp, or in a tiny house in the mountains of Colorado for $175 a night through Airbnb. Or stay for free by becoming an vetted house sitter at TrustedHousesitters, or sleep in an old fire lookout tower in the desert for next to nothing.

6. Group your reservation

Remember that your time is valuable, so spending hours searching for a good deal isn’t always in your best interest. “Sign up for emails from your favorite airlines or travel sites and you’ll find out about travel packages they offer to certain destinations that may include airfare and hotel,” says Krengel. “Consider how much time you’re saving if you don’t have to spend hours researching and booking.”

If you book a flight with Aha Airlines, a budget airline and adventure company, you can also book tours and activities, such as sailing cruises, guided hikes or brewery tours at your destination, and get 15 percent off fares . Aha has great deals on flights to Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe Airport, currently starting at just $39 one way from select cities. Once you’re there, book a room at the elegant Coachman Hotel in South Lake Tahoe, California, where rooms start at $139 a night if you go weekdays in the fall, compared to weekend rates that cost the double.

7. Insure your trip

“Get a great deal, but don’t forget to protect the money you’re spending on travel,” says Lieberman. “You’ll be glad you did if you need to make a change to your reservation.” Lieberman recommends getting travel insurance, whether you’re going on a big international trip or just going away for the weekend. You may want to consider “trip cancellation for any reason” insurance, which typically reimburses up to 75 percent of your non-refundable trip costs if you need to cancel within a set number of days. Seven Corners has affordable travel insurance, or check out Insure My Trip to find the best travel insurance deal.

Source: www.outsideonline.com