With Memorial Day around the corner, many Americans are thinking about their summer travel plans. A recent national survey found 59 percent of Americans think a trip this summer is beyond their budgets. But the reality is there's a surplus of great deals in the marketplace right now. The experts at Travelzoo share their secrets on how to find them.
Tip 1: Stay at Hotels in Business Districts for Lower Weekend Rates
In many cities, business travel drives hotel prices on certain days of the week. In New York City's Financial District, hotel occupancy and rates are high from Monday through Thursday nights. But once the business travelers leave, hotels in the Financial District have increased availability, making a Friday through Sunday getaway much more affordable. This same trend applies to the cities coast-to-coast.
Tip 2: Fly on Off-Peak Days
Pricing in the airline industry has become increasingly volatile, meaning fares can drop or sky-rocket at any given time. However, generally speaking, when the demand softens, airfares tend to drop. If you must travel on a Monday, Friday or Sunday, you'll find higher fares since these days tend to be popular for business and leisure travel. That means airfare tends to drop—sometimes by 50 percent or more—on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. If your itinerary allows you to be flexible, search for flights on off-peak days.
Tip 3: Research Alternative Cruise Ports
There's no denying that some of the best cruise deals are for itineraries departing from Florida ports. But over the past several years, cruise companies have positioned many of their vessels in alternate ports throughout the country, making cruises more appealing to a broader audience. Alternate departure ports including Bayonne, New Jersey; Charleston, South Carolina; Galveston, Texas; New York City; and Norfolk, Virginia, have led to an influx of deals in the market.
Tip 4: Book a Vacation Package During "Shoulder Seasons"
Perhaps the best way to save money on a destination vacation is to become a master of the calendar and seasonality. For affordable vacation deals to Europe, forget the peak travel summer months when prices are high. Instead, look at winter and early spring travel dates. With cooler temperatures, demand is lower. As the temperatures climb, so do the prices. If the idea of London or Berlin in late January doesn't appeal to you, consider the "shoulder seasons"—spring or fall in Europe—when you will also find good deals.
Tip 5: Travel to Destinations That Recently Hosted Big Events
Some of the best travel savings are based on the destination. Travelers should look at destinations that recently hosted big events, such as the Olympic Games, as hotel inventory will be readily available. For example, the 2008 Summer Olympic Games didn't necessarily translate into the big tourism boom China anticipated. As a result, hotels are slashing rates on their increased inventory, resulting in deals for luxury properties and vacation packages that showcase the best of the country.
Say bon voyage to hidden travel fees.
Stretch your travel dollars, even during a recession
Do you have your own budget travel advice? What are your summer travel plans? Discuss below!
Travelzoo is a global publisher of travel deals with more than 18 million subscribers in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific and 20 offices worldwide. Travelzoo's deal experts research, evaluate and test travel offers to confirm their true value, then endorse and publish those that are best in the market.
Published on March 29, 2010