How to Travel Economically
The economy is slowly rebounding, but it's far from ideal.
Approximately one in 13 Americans can't find a job and real income has yet to recover to pre-recession levels. As such, with many Americans finding paying for the bare necessities more difficult than in past years, travel if often a luxury they simply cannot afford.
However, as with anything else in life, savvy shoppers can purchase travel at a reasonable price. Below are a few tips for those who wish to travel without coming home broke.
Hoard Airline Miles
A plethora of credit cards offer airline miles for frequent travelers. Some offer large upfront bonuses, meaning travelers may be able to get a free round-trip flight just for signing up. And, while cardholders travel, they typically accumulate additional miles, which will make future trips cheaper. A mileage calculator like this one can help travelers determine how many airline miles they need to accumulate for a free trip.
Stay Away from Hotspots
Plenty of travelers like to visit Miami because of its beautiful beaches and loads of entertainment. But, a budget-conscious traveler can land about 30 miles north in Fort Lauderdale and save a lot of money. In fact, based on a review of the five most popular hotel selections in each location on expedia.com, a couple traveling from New York City to Florida would save an average of $444 on a week-long trip to Fort Lauderdale versus Miami.
The same logic applies to numerous other destinations. For example, Northeasterners often drive to beaches in Delaware and North Carolina for the cheaper rates and, arguably, better quality. Similarly, California-like beaches can be found in Mexico at much lower rates. The idea is to find somewhere that is less traveled, but offers a similar experience.
As the number of travelers in a group rises, driving becomes an increasingly-attractive option. A long haul in a car will cost a few dollars extra with each additional passenger's weight as compared to several hundred dollars per airline ticket.
Driving also makes transportation easier at the destination, as travelers don't have to rely on a rental car or mass transit.
While this option poses limitations as to distance, plenty of families take long drives – such as from the Northeast to Florida - every year.
A campsite typically costs about $10 to $30 per night. So, travelers can spend an entire week at a campground for around the same cost as one night in a hotel.
Restaurants in tourist locations are often expensive. To combat this, travelers can pack their own food.
Some hotels offer in-room kitchens. Or, travelers can rent a cabin or house – sometimes for cheaper than a hotel room.
Of course, campers can cook their own food over a fire or by using a grill.
This option is best for those traveling via car, given the cost and impracticality of transporting that much food by airline.
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