15 Tips for Saving on 2022 Vacation Spending
Experts anticipate 2022 vacation spending to be even higher than pre-pandemic years.
In fact, according to Tripadvisor, “In the United States, 2022 leisure travel intent is up 8 percentage points (pp) compared to 2019, with 71% saying they are likely to travel for leisure in 2022. […] American travelers are expected to spend 29% more on their average trip in 2022 than they did in 2019.”¹
Expedia reports, “More than two-thirds of Americans (68%) are planning to go big on their next trip and that many are eyeing international destinations like Rome, Bali, London and Paris in 2022. Expedia is calling this new ‘no-regrets’ style of travel the ‘GOAT’ (Greatest of All Trips) mindset.”²
While it is great to know everyone is ready and excited to travel again, it is a little worrisome that so many people are willing to go overboard when it comes to vacation spending.
For instance, these reports don’t factor in the sharp increase in travel costs.
According to CNBC, “The U.S. Travel Association’s December Travel Price Index, which measures travel costs in the United States, shows that prices have increased for food (+10%), hotels (+13.3%) and motor fuel (+26.6%), compared with 2019.”³
The sharp increase in fuel prices will significantly affect travel prices this summer.
As of March 2022, the Consumer Price Index shows gas prices have increased 48% in 12 months.⁴
Whether you plan to drive or fly to your destination, vacation spending is going to be more costly simply due to fuel prices.
Use the following 15 tips to help you save on vacation spending in 2022.
#1 Set a Vacation Spending Budget
Many people wind up in debt due to vacation spending. They have the flight and hotel covered, but rack up credit card charges for food, excursions, and souvenirs.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Instead, create a vacation spending budget ahead of time. Allocate a food budget, an entertainment budget, and a souvenir budget. If you have children, communicate the souvenir budget clearly prior to leaving.
#2 Purchase Flights ASAP
If you plan to fly, book flights as soon as possible.
According to Willis Orlando, a senior flight expert with Scott’s Cheap Flights, “At the pump, you see it immediately. For airfare, it’s usually a two, three, four-month lag because airlines buy fuel in bulk ahead of time.”⁵
If you wait to purchase flights, you will likely encounter higher prices due to the rising cost of fuel.
#3 Be Flexible with Travel Dates
Another way to save on vacation spending is to be flexible with your travel dates.
Who says you have to take a vacation from Saturday to Saturday? Be willing to go mid-week for cheaper flights and hotel rooms.
Sites such as Airbnb, Skyscanner, and Google Flights allow you to search for the cheapest options, including flexible dates, so you can see what times, days, and months are the most budget-friendly.
#4 Use Mobile Apps for Booking
Many travel apps offer special app-only discounts for booking. It is well worth your time to check the mobile apps before you click purchase – especially if you already have an idea of when you want to travel and where you want to stay.
#5 Book an Airbnb
Many people enjoy the freedom of booking an Airbnb or VRBO home listing. When searching for a home rental, you can find homes within a certain budget.
It is also pretty common to find home rentals for less than the price of hotels in the same area. This is because the homeowners don’t have the same overhead costs as hotels.
Plus, with home rentals, you are guaranteed a kitchen for cooking your own meals (and saving money).
#6 Eat In
A significant part of vacation spending goes toward eating out in restaurants. The problem is that eating out is expensive – especially in touristy areas.
Chron reports, “In the restaurant industry, on the other hand, food is generally marked up about 60 percent, and some beverages may be marked up as much as 500 percent.”⁶
Instead of spending an extravagant amount of money on eating out, choose to eat in. On the first day of vacation, head to the grocery store and stock up on food for meals.
#7 Compare Rental Car Prices
Given the high price of gas, it may be worth your money to rent a vehicle for a road trip rather than driving your own (especially if you own a gas guzzler).
The key is to shop around to find the best rental car price.
Try booking a non-prepaid rental car early and then track prices to see if you find a lower cost.
AutoSlash offers price comparison and price tracking services for rental cars, so you can get the lowest rate possible.
#8 Consider Rental Car Alternatives
Another way to save on vacation spending is to forego the rental car.
Since rental car prices are on the rise, it may be more cost-effective to rely on services such as Uber or Lyft to get you where you need to go.
If you want to have a car of your own but don’t want to go the typical rental car route, check out Turo. Turo is the car rental version of Airbnb, with car owners in different cities offering peer-to-peer car sharing.
#9 Use Your Travel Miles
If you’ve been saving up your travel miles, this is the time to use them. With vacation prices on the rise, it makes sense to cash these miles in and save the money you have in your bank account.
#10 Book Vacations with the Right Credit Card
Use the credit card that offers travel miles to book your flight. If your credit card provides trip and lost luggage insurance and access to airport lounges, even better.
If you know you’ll pay off your card when the bill comes due, put the rest of your vacation spending, such as excursions and restaurants, on a rewards credit card.
With the amount you are spending, you can rack up points or rewards to redeem next vacation or Christmas.
#11 Scope Out Groupon
Before your vacation, spend some time browsing Groupon for local deals and coupons, and purchase a few that will come in handy. This is a great way to save money at your destination – and it will alleviate the temptation to go somewhere more expensive.
#12 Pack Smarter
By now, we’re all aware that we have to pay baggage fees (even for the first piece of luggage). Rather than pay additional baggage fees for each family member, pack smarter.
Take full advantage of free carry-ons, consolidate clothing into a larger piece of luggage, and eliminate items you can do without.
#13 Purchase Trip
The pandemic taught us how quickly plans can change. Numerous people had to cancel vacations due to positive tests.
You’d hate to lose hotel deposits if something similar happened to you. Moreover, if you happen to test positive while in another destination, trip insurance can help you cover the costs associated with an extended stay and medical care.
#14 Start Saving for Vacation
While it is too late to start saving for summer 2022, make a plan to save for 2023’s vacations. One way to do this is to create a vacation savings account and make it part of your budget.
Allocate how much money from each paycheck will go into the vacation fund.
#15 Take a Staycation
One of the easiest ways to limit vacation spending is to stay at home.
If you are on a tight budget or simply don’t want to spend the big bucks on a vacation this year, make this the year of the staycation.
Take time off work and take the family to the local museums, entertainment venues, and restaurants you’ve missed since the lockdown.
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