Are you considering taking a holiday trip? Whether you are spending a weekend to visit relatives or exploring somewhere new, traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic can be extremely stressful. If travel is on your must-do list, you can still be safe and save some money.
Travel Tip #1: Think About Timing
Holiday travel is always expensive, but you can sometimes get a discounted rate if you book very early or very late.. For air travel, three months prior to the date of travel is ideal. Booking early guarantees a seat and (most times) a discount. But for the best discounts, waiting for the last minute could get you an outstanding deal. . According to the TSA, people have begun to travel more as we move closer to winter. This is compared to a decrease of around two million in travelers since April, compared to last year.1
Travel Tip #2: Don’t Let Anything Get By You
Hello baggage fees, goodbye free food, drinks and entertainment. The COVID-19 pandemic has basically eliminated food services on most airlines. Look into what is not included when you purchase your ticket and plan accordingly. You could bring your own snacks and a tablet loaded with shows to binge.
Travel Tip #3: Use Local Coupons and Deal Sites
Many travelers forget that you can use deal and coupon websites when you travel. When you’re traveling in other areas, you can oftentimes use the same money-saving sites you use every day. Look into local deals, especially if you’re planning on going the tourist route.
Travel Tip #4: Consider Alternate Lodging Options
One of the costliest parts of a trip is paying for accommodations - but it doesn't have to be. The CDC recommends avoiding contact and maintaining social distancing, so going with a hotel is likely your best option.2 Luckily, we are seeing lower hotel costs in a lot of locations due to the recent reduction in travel. Airbnb or something similar is sometimes a great option to consider that comes with hidden savings especially on food, as you can purchase groceries and eat out less. This saves money and reduces interaction with those outside of your household.
Travel Tip #5: Spend Less On Food
Eating anywhere away from home is expensive, especially if you are heading to a popular destination. Touristy areas tend to take advantage,, even a basic meal can cost significantly more than what you would pay closer to home. You can save money by staying somewhere that enables you to prepare meals there or by just bringing prepared food with you on a shorter trip. If you are unable to cook or carry your own food, look online for somewhere to buy prepared food such as supermarkets or delis. This can be significantly less expensive than a typical restaurant.
Travel Tip #6: Steer Clear Of Booze
Due to safety concerns, many states have closed their bars. If you happen to be in a location with open bars, consider taking your drinks to-go (if legal in your area) or avoid the bars all together. If you do choose to partake, try buying a bottle at the supermarket or liquor store. This will save money and increase your safety by limiting prolonged contact with people.
Travel Tip #7: Follow The CDC’s Recommendations
The CDC provides COVID-19 travel recommendations for those who must travel.3 Always bring extra hand sanitizer and masks when you travel because finding proper sanitizing products can be more challenging when you’re not at home. Try to avoid touching objects and surfaces that others may use and wash your hands before touching your eyes and mouth. When traveling to another state, be aware of the restrictions and infection rates.
Traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging, but definitely not impossible. While you have the added pressure of staying safe, following these money-saving hacks can help keep you within your budget as well.