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 
5.74% – 20.28%1$5,000 - $100,000

Visit SoFi

4.37% – 35.99%$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upstart

5.94% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upgrade

99.00% – 199.00%2$500 - $4,000

Visit OppLoans

5.99% – 24.99%3$5,000 - $40,000

Visit Payoff

7.99% – 20.88%4$5,000 - $50,000

Visit Citizens

9.99% – 35.99%5$2,000 - $36,500

Visit LendingPoint

10.68% – 35.89%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 5.74% APR to 20.28% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 1/18/22 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 Payoff.

Payoff 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

  • 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 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint’s final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $36,500, at rates ranging from a low of 9.99% APR to a high of 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months. The loan offer(s) shown reflect a 28 day payment cycle which is being offered as a courtesy as many of our customers are paid on a biweekly schedule and thus this may better align the loan payment dates with your actual income receipt schedule.

6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 9.56% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 13.11%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $192.37. The total amount repayable will be $6,925.32. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 2% to 6% (average is 4.86% as of 7/1/2019 – 9/30/2019). In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,001 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.

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 APRs of 5.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% 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 $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. 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. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s lending partners. Information on Upgrade’s lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.