It’s no secret that spring break is a popular time to travel. Escaping the cold for a bit sounds even more appealing after two years of travel restrictions and pandemic lockdowns. The question on everyone’s mind is: Are there any travel deals to be found?
If you’re looking to go to popular Spring Break destinations, you’ll likely end up dealing with peak pricing on everything from hotel rooms to airline tickets and rental cars. Add into the mix inflation, pent-up travel demand, an excess of travel credits and vouchers, and a Spring Break 2022 trip seems like it could be out of your budget.
Spring Break Travel Deals Are Possible: 7 Ways to Find Them
Well, don’t give up on a getaway just yet. All those 2022 dynamics don’t mean there aren’t travel deals available or that there aren’t tons of affordable U.S. Destinations. Here’s what the experts said are the best ways to find spring break travel deals.
1. Book flights first, hotel later
Airfare prices tend to rise as the intended departure date gets closer — so thinking ahead pays off, said Hanns-Peter Nagel, spokesperson for Expedia.
“Booking flights 21 to 30 days in advance saved travelers 10% on airfare during last year’s U.S. spring break period,” said Nagel.
However, according to Expedia, the average daily hotel price during the spring break season was about $160 last year. So those who waited and booked just six days (or less) ahead unlocked savings of up to 15%.
Don’t lock into a hotel booking without checking out airfare — you could wind up shelling out a lot for the flights.
2. Wait for the right day of the week to book
It’s not only about how far ahead you book. It also matters what day of the week you make a reservation.
It’s best to book flights on a weekend and start your journey on a Thursday or Friday, according to Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation’s (ARC) 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook. However, when it comes to hotel rooms, book on Fridays to snag the best deals.
3. Bundle & save
Similar to bundling your home and auto insurance to save money, you should consider packaging flight and hotel reservations together.
“You can save an average of $600 just by bundling your flight and hotel together, which is really significant,” said Nagel.
If you don’t want to buy a package right away or need more time to find the perfect hotel, many websites will allow you to book the flight first and add a hotel any time before your trip.
4. Use the app
Big travel sites often have deeply discounted deals available on their app. Moreover, booking via mobile often gets you some extra perks like double the rewards points.
Everyone loves perks — so be sure to check out this list of free things you can get while traveling.
5. Switch up your destination
Resist following the crowds to the typical spring break locations like Miami, Daytona, or Fort Lauderdale. Instead, opt to visit a less-traveled destination with the same climate, which can pay off in huge savings, said Calvin Iverson, spokesman for TravelPirates.
If you can find a cheap flight into Fort Lauderdale, but the prices for hotels are eye-popping, look at hotels inland in Weston, Florida, for a fun-filled family vacation exploring the Everglades and fun days spent at resort pools. With all the money you’ll save on accommodations, you can go to the beach for one day and splurge on a $100 cabana rental and still have a beach day in style while sticking to your budget.
Or, consider ditching the warm climate for somewhere less familiar.
Many international destinations are still in the middle of their low-price season in March and April, making them a wallet-friendly choice, said Gabe Saglie, senior editor for Travelzoo.
“Look for value opportunity in places like Europe and Asia, where prices will still be low ahead of the upcoming summer bump, and the Caribbean, where prices will be beginning to soften as we exit winter,” said Saglie.
6. Or Stay Slightly Outside the Main Tourist Area
If you have your heart set on a specific location, you may want to consider booking a hotel a little bit outside of the destination center, said Iverson.
“Browse all available options, including those slightly outside of the action, before you make your final decision,” he said. “It’s possible to find huge savings and still only be a short walk or drive from where you’d like to party.”
For example, Iverson said in New Orleans that hotels on Bourbon Street are almost always more expensive than Airbnbs in the Marigny, a neighborhood that’s walking distance from the city’s legendary party street.
7. Skip the parking
One of the easiest costs to cut out is parking. Rates can be expensive in popular destinations, costing in excess of $70 per night in places like San Francisco and New York, whether at a hotel valet or a garage, said Saglie. (Here are some other travel fees you should never pay.)
“You can save a bit of money if you do one-way rental cars or consider a rideshare option to get around your destination,” said Saglie. “Additionally, don’t let your car just sit at the airport while you’re gone and rack up a hefty price tag. Call upon that good friend and ask them to drive you to the airport.”
If you only need a car on vacation for a day to two to explore the surrounding areas, look into ZipCar. That way, you won’t be burning money to leave a car parked at your resort for multiple days unused.
This article originally appeared on Policygenius and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.