8 Simple Ways to Save Over $600 on Your Next Vacation

 May 23, 2018
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Who wouldn’t want to save $619 on their next vacation?

We asked three experts to share simple tips to pay less to travel, as well as an estimate of the dollar savings for each tip. In all, we estimate this advice could save you at least $619 per traveler, and possibly more for a longer stay.

Don’t worry — there’s still time to plan your cheap summer vacation. But before you do, make sure you’re following these travel strategies to get more summer fun while spending less.

1. Don’t buy airfare at the last minute

Potential savings: $139 or more

“The best piece of advice I can give is to not book too late,” said Liana Corwin, travel expert for airfare search app Hopper. “This is the costliest (and one of the most common) mistakes that travelers make, setting them back an average of $139 on domestic trips and $529 on international ones.”

2. Don’t buy airfare too early, either

Potential savings: $38 or more

Corwin said Hopper’s research found that you can book too early, too. If you find the pricing window “sweet spot,” you could save $38 on domestic flights, and $474 internationally, according to Hopper’s flight search data.

“If you’re traveling to a traditional business destination like New York or Washington, D.C., the best prices tend to be about three months in advance of departure,” Corwin said. “If you’re heading to a classic vacation destination such as Hawaii or Cancun, however, you’re likely to find the lowest deals about one month before your trip.”

3. Shop around before booking

Potential savings: $46 or more

“Another mistake travelers often make is booking their flights the same day that they search for them,” Corwin said. Hopper’s research found that two-thirds of ticket prices will drop within 24 hours of a customer’s first airfare search.

Waiting for a drop offers average savings of $46 on domestic trips or $139 internationally, Corwin said.

“An app like Hopper will tell you if the flight price you’re looking at is a good deal and whether you should buy now or wait,” she added. “No guessing needed!”

4. Pack in carry-ons only

Potential savings: $50 round trip

Checking a bag when flying will usually land you with a $25 fee. You also could face additional charges if your checked bag is overweight or if you check more than one bag.

If you can manage to travel light, you’ll be able to save some cash — $25 each way for a total savings of $50 round trip. Two U.S. airlines don’t charge a fee for the first checked bag, according to USA Today: Southwest Airlines and Cape Air.

Even if you’re planning to pack only in carry-on bags, check each airlines’ baggage policy, advised Johnny DiScala, founder of travel savings site JohnnyJet.com.

“Some of the new basic economy fares charge even for carry-on bags,” he said.

5. Skip hotels with resort fees

Potential savings: $21 a night

“Make sure there are no resort fees before reserving a night,” DiScala said.

The average resort fee is $21, according to The Washington Post. By checking prices and avoiding this fee, you could save up $100 or more on a five-night stay.

Since it’s not included in average nightly rates, however, you might not take account for resort fees when comparing the costs of different hotels. Make sure you’re carefully checking for all fees and reviewing your total before making a final decision.

6. Check price even after you’ve booked

Potential savings: $10 or more a night

Even after you’ve found a hotel that you like and booked your reservation, you can still shop around for a better deal.

“Keep checking the price of the hotel after [you] book,” DiScala suggested.

As your booked date approaches, your hotel might lower prices or run a promotional offer that’s less than your initial rate.

If the price goes down, cancel your first reservation and rebook at the lower price, DiScala said. Be sure to watch out for cancellation fees, which could negate the savings you could get by rebooking.

7. Eat in for one meal

Potential savings: $15 a day

Just because you’re not at home doesn’t mean you have to eat out for every meal. Finding a way to eat free or cheap can save as much (or more) than $15 a person, per day.

For example, a lot of hotels offer a continental breakfast that’s included in your rate. You can get your first meal of the day for free, as well as grab an apple or banana to snack on while you’re out and about.

“[You could also] have a large lunch and small dinner since lunch menus tend to be cheaper,” DiScala said.

Booking a hotel or Airbnb property that has a fridge and microwave can allow you to go grocery shopping and save more money, he added.

8. Take advantage of travel credit cards

Potential savings: Up to $300

Your method of payment for vacation costs can also be an opportunity to save.

“There are a significant number of perks that come with travel and airline credit cards,” said Bill Hardekopf, CEO of credit card comparison site LowCards.com.

One of the biggest savings comes on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

“[It] gives you a $300 travel credit each year as a reimbursement for your travel purchases (done on your anniversary date of becoming a cardholder),” Hardekopf said.

“The Bank of America Premium Rewards card gives you up to $200 in combined airline incidental and expedited screening costs,” he added.

This offsets expenses such as baggage fees and even TSA Precheck application costs.

These tips are a great starting point to save on your next trip. They also prove that paying less for your next vacation can be simple.

If you invest a small amount of time in researching airfare and comparing hotel rates, you can shave hundreds of dollars off your travel costs. And using smart travel strategies and tools to find and compare deals makes it even easier.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2022!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
7.99% – 23.43%1$5,000 - $100,000

Visit SoFi

4.37% – 35.99%$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upstart

7.46% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upgrade

99.00% – 199.00%2$500 - $4,000

Visit OppLoans

7.99% – 29.99%3$5,000 - $40,000

Visit Happy Money

7.99% – 20.88%4$5,000 - $50,000

Visit Citizens

7.99% – 35.99%5$2,000 - $36,500

Visit LendingPoint

8.30% – 36.00%6$1,000 - $40,000

Visit LendingClub

9.95% – 35.99%7$2,000 - $35,000

Visit Avant

1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

Fixed rates from 7.99% APR to 23.43% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/22/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Opploans.

Opploans Disclosures

Direct Deposit required for payroll.

Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.

  1. To qualify, a borrower must (i) be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; (ii) reside in a state where OppLoans operates; (iii) have direct deposit; (iv) meet income requirements; (v) be 18 years of age (19 in Alabama); and, (vi) meet verification standards.
  2. NV Residents: The use of high-interest loans services should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any loan transaction.

  3. OppLoans performs no credit checks through the three major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Applicants’ credit scores are provided by Clarity Services, Inc., a credit reporting agency.

  4. Based on customer service ratings on Google and Facebook. Testimonials reflect the individual’s opinion and may not be illustrative of all individual experiences with OppLoans. Check loan reviews.

  5. Rates and terms vary by state.

3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Happy Money.

Happy Money Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Rates and offer subject to change. All accounts, loans and services subject to individual approval.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.

LendingPoint Disclosures

Applications submitted on this website may be funded by one of several lenders, including: FinWise Bank, a Utah-chartered bank, Member FDIC; Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC; Midland States Bank, Member FDIC; and LendingPoint, a licensed lender in certain states. Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 7% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. Loans are offered from $2,000 to $36,500, at rates ranging from 7.99% to 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 72 months. Minimum loan amounts apply in Georgia, $3,500; Colorado, $3,001; and Hawaii, $1,500. For a well-qualified customer, a $10,000 loan for a period of 48 months with an APR of 24.34% and origination fee of 7% will have a payment of $327.89 per month. (Actual terms and rate depend on credit history, income, and other factors.) The $15,575.04 total amount due under the loan terms provided as an example in this disclaimer includes the origination fee financed in addition to the loan amount. Customers may have the option to deduct the origination fee from the disbursed loan amount if desired. If the origination fee is added to the financed amount, interest is charged on the full principal amount. The total amount due is the total amount of the loan you will have paid after you have made all payments as scheduled.

6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

  1. Checking your loan rate generates a soft credit inquiry on your credit report, which is visible only to you. A hard credit inquiry, which is visible to you and others, and which may affect your credit score, only appears on your credit report if and when a loan is issued to you. Your loan APR will depend upon your credit score and other key financing characteristics, including but not limited to the amount financed, loan term length, and your credit usage and history. A representative example of payment terms for a Personal Loan is as follows: a borrower receives a loan of $16,980 for a term of 36 months, with an interest rate of 13.49% and a 6.00% origination fee of $1,019, for an APR of 17.89%. In this example, the borrower will receive $15,961 and will make 36 monthly payments of $576. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $40,000 and loan term lengths range from 24 months to 60 months. Some amounts, rates, and term lengths may be unavailable in certain states. For Personal Loans, APR ranges from 8.30% to 36.00% and origination fee ranges from 3.00% to 6.00% of the loan amount. APRs and origination fees are determined at the time of application. Lowest APR is available to borrowers with excellent credit. Advertised rates and fees are valid as of July 11, 2022 and are subject to change without notice. Loans are made by LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender (“LendingClub Bank”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of LendingClub Corporation, NMLS ID 167439. LendingClub Bank is not an affiliate of LendingTree, LLC which is an unrelated third party (“third party”). LendingClub Bank is not responsible for any products and services provided by this third party and may receive compensation if you visit the third party’s websites or use any of its products or services. Credit eligibility is not guaranteed. Loans are subject to credit approval and may be subject to sufficient investor commitment before they can be funded or issued. Certain information that LendingClub Bank subsequently obtains as part of the application process (including but not limited to information in your consumer report, your income, the loan amount that your request, the purpose of your loan, and qualifying debt) will be considered and could affect your ability to obtain a loan. Loan closing is contingent on accepting all required agreements and disclosures at Lendingclub.com. “LendingClub” is a trademark of LendingClub Bank.

7 Important Disclosures for Avant.

Avant Disclosures

*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 – August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 7.46%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s bank partners. Information on Upgrade’s bank partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/bank-partners/ .