There are a ton of mixed opinions from experts in the travel industry about how we'll see travel come back. Some say travel will be cheap and easily accessible. Other experts worry that prices will skyrocket and we'll have a hard time finding availability. I've worked through Coronavirus as a travel agent and I have to say: the second seems more likely.
There's a pent-up demand for travel, and we're still seeing reschedules from travelers who were set to travel in March of 2020. Because we have so many original 2021 bookings in addition to rebookings from 2020, availability isn't going to be as open. Due to the financial losses that airlines, cruise lines, and hotel chains have suffered, many have had to layoff employees, sell or dismantle ships, or close locations. These factors will impact availability as well. With less availability and higher demand than usual (since we've all been cooped up for so long), it's only logical to guess that prices will go up. So, we've got to start saving now.
Not good at saving money? No worries, I'm here to help with some tips from the US News & World Report.
1. Start budgeting early
Know how much you want to spend before you start planning your trip. This will allow you to have an idea of what you can afford for plane tickets, lodging, transportation, etc. If you're flying somewhere further away, you may need to stay at a cheaper hotel to balance out the cost. Whatever the case may be, having an idea of your spending limit before you plan is a good way to keep yourself organized.
2. Use Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Travel rewards credit cards are lifesavers. Why not get discounted travel for purchases you have to make anyway? Some cards have perks like free hotel nights, discounted or free flights, application fee credit for TSA Precheck, etc. For a look at the best travel rewards credit cards in 2020, click here.
3. Get tips from experts
Check-in with your favorite travel blogger or local travel agent to get the latest tips on how to find cheap travel. As travel trends change throughout the year, these individuals will be the first to notice new ways to save money. I've been working in the travel industry for 3 years and I've worked as a travel agent, blogger, and author. I've been in Texas Lifestyle Magazine, Travel Market Report, OppLoans, and on the Trip Sister's Podcast, and here's a short video with some of my best travel tips:
4. Pick up a side-hustle to earn extra money
There are plenty of ways to make more money these days. Dropshipping or eCommerce, remote work, selling art, doing odd jobs, selling weird things on the internet - basically anything you can think of. If you're picking up the side hustle in order to travel, you might consider one of these jobs that allow you the time, money, and flexibility to travel.
5. Cut back your expenses
Keep track of your spending and refrain from any unnecessary purchases. It may sound difficult, but it could be the only thing standing between you and the beach right now. If you need some extra help, try the TrueBill app. It's how I keep track of my income, spending, bills, and anything else financially. You choose how much you pay for the app and it can be as low as $3/month. You can also cut back expenses by using coupons or cashback apps, going out to eat less, and setting aside a set amount weekly for fun activities rather than just doing what you please.
6. Plan it with your budget in mind
Once you've decided on your budget, start researching your destination to see if you can afford to travel there at any time of year or if you'll need to wait for the off-season. The off-season of a destination is when fewer tourists visit, typically due to weather. You may also need to take large events like music festivals or political events into consideration when planning. Your best bet if you want the best bang for your buck is to plan early and use a travel agent. Many don't charge service fees anymore and they'll have access to more deals and discounted packages.
About the Author:
I'm Anna Mills - a travel agent, blogger, and author of the book "100 Ways to Make Travel More Affordable". I have been a guest on the Trip Sister's Podcast and TripScout's Roadtrip Expert Panel. You may have seen me in Texas Lifestyle Magazine, Opploans.com, or as a Rising Star for Travel Market Report.