Although certain places in the world are still enforcing mask mandates and demanding negative COVID-19 tests, it’s safe to say that after 2 years, travel is finally back, although it comes with unforgivably steep costs.
Fuel prices are on the rise, and this is destined to impact flight and road trip prices immensely, with airfare already up by 10.7% last month and airline delays and cancellations reaching record highs.
The issue at hand is that traveling couldn’t have returned at a worse time, as inflation has reached an unprecedented high, unrecorded since 1981, leaving many questioning whether that family trip to the Grand Canyon is really even possible this year.
If gas prices haven’t got you down, then the growing food costs definitely have, with analysts warning a global wheat shortage is upon us due to the prolonged Ukraine-Russia conflict which has been going on for the past 2 months.
In spite of all the chaos in the world though, an estimated 85% of Americans are still willing to travel in 2022, and if you’re one of those people, you’ll want to cut every corner you can if you don’t want to splurge all your savings on a vacation trip, whether it be by car, bus, boat or plane.
One positive that came from the COVID-19 pandemic is the change to flight rescheduling, which is no longer charged for most domestic, Caribbean, and Mexican destinations that your airline company offers.
Unfortunately, this still doesn’t apply to international flights, so make sure you’ve booked the right flight if you’re looking to travel further abroad like Europe or Africa.
Similarly, the changes also apply to flights booked using miles, allowing you to cancel or reschedule without any penalty.
Packing light or sharing a bag with a friend?
Packing makes all the difference, and if you’re using an airline where you haven’t yet reached a loyalty member status, packing all of your belongings in a carry-on bag could potentially save you $30 per traveler.
If you’re packing for a longer trip, you could share one suitcase with a person from your group, which can save you more than half of the costs in the baggage department.
Additionally, certain airlines like Delta are looking to outright remove baggage fees in hope of reducing delays, although the concept has already been in use through airline credit cards allowing you to have one free checked bag paired with priority boarding.
Finally, if you’ve been saving those points for these past 2 years, there hasn’t been a better time to use them, as it’s the most clear-cut way of saving cash on your travels.
A report showed that over 27 billion unused miles were accumulated by travelers by the end of 2020, and experts like Emily Sherman of Optimal believe that flight costs in points are often much more affordable than paying in cash, although it can vary among different point structures.
Longer flights often cost more points, but dipping into your reserve can help you cut your costs by a margin, allowing you to save up more for your next trip.