Cost-saving travel tips for tough economic times

9 December 2022
Cost-saving travel tips for tough economic times

Just as we got out from under pandemic lockdowns and global entry restrictions, oil prices shot through the roof, interest rates spiked, and inflation has risen around the world. 

Countries worldwide are imposing new tourist taxes too. It can all start to feel like staycationing is the way to go this winter season.

If you still want to get away in December, here are all the ways you can save money in these tough economic times.

Consider transportation alternatives

The good news is that gas prices have fallen below record levels in June, but they’re still higher than at the same time last year.

With high gas prices driving up jet fuel prices, it may make sense to hop on a train or bus this holiday season instead.

Shop around for transportation before you assume you’re stuck with the usual options.

Play the points game

Don’t tune out when the flight attendant announces special card offers. Most airlines and hotels have branded loyalty programs that earn you just enough from the bonus sign-up to get a free flight or hotel night.

These perks are the stuff travel hackers love. They can reduce the cost of a vacation and keep you within your budget. 

Tips to save on hotel stays

Rates for hotel rooms have jumped by 12% from where they were in 2019 (aka the pre-times). 

Once again, strong demand and tight supply — some hotels didn’t survive the pandemic; others struggle to fill staff positions — are pushing prices higher.

Here’s how to save on hotel stays this month:

  1. Book directly with the hotel. You can use the travel aggregator sites to shop around, but you’ll get the best pricing and perks by booking directly.
  2. Consider urban centers and business districts because they’re slightly removed from downtown areas, and you’ll benefit from quieter nights and lower rates.
  3. Use or sign up for loyalty programs. You can get perks like in-room Wi-Fi and nights free on longer stays.
  4. Travel mid-week rather than weekends. Mid-week rates are cheaper.
  5. Stay longer to reduce the per-night rate overall.
  6. Check the hotel’s website for promotions including last-minute deals. For example, Marriott is currently running a winter promo for travelers who stay at least five nights (seven at resort properties). 

Save money on meals

If you want to eat locally and pay what locals pay, get away from the tourist zones. Walking for 10 or 15 minutes away from major attractions will mean big savings. 

You’ll get seated more quickly and enjoy a more authentic meal experience. 

Pro tip: download an app like Google Translate to your phone, so you can ‘read’ menus in another language.

🎁 Finally, if you can’t face travel during these tough and weird economic times, consider gifting travel instead. A recent survey by Forbes indicated that 53% of Americans would consider gifting their travel rewards like airline loyalty miles or hotel points. Plane tickets are the most desired travel gift, followed closely by hotel stays.

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Damian Tysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.