Tips For Keeping Your Travel Expenses Down During Peak Season

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

You have to be prepared for the price hike that accompanies the peak travel season as it draws near (like now!). Traveling at this busy time of year can be quite expensive, with hotel prices rising and flights shooting through the roof. This post will provide useful advice to help you minimize your travel costs and maximize your well-earned holiday time.

There are several clever tactics that might help you get cheap flights through the busiest time of year without going over budget. Let me show you how to reduce your costs.

Timing is Everything: Be Flexible

Being flexible with your vacation dates is one of the best strategies to save money during popular travel seasons. Airlines and hotels sometimes charge premium prices for flights and accommodations during the busiest travel times, which include the days before major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

If you change your travel schedule for just a day or two, you may be able to make big financial savings.

Take into account going on the holiday itself, or just before or after the most popular times. During these off-peak periods, airlines and hotels often offer larger discounts in an effort to fill seats and rooms that may otherwise remain empty.

Explore Alternative Accommodations

Patio with traditional stone walls, adorned with colorful flags, featuring wooden furniture and scenic distant hills, offers a glimpse of things to do in Avanos Cappadocia, Turkiye.

You may immediately think of booking a hotel, but hotels rapidly become an expensive burden during busy times of the year. Instead, I suggest that you look at other housing options like house swaps, holiday rentals, or even hostel dormitories to reduce your hotel expenses.

Platforms for vacation rentals provide a variety of choices, from comfortable studio apartments to whole houses, sometimes at a far lower price than typical hotels. In addition to saving money, you’ll also have access to facilities like kitchens, which let you cook for yourself and save costs even more.

If you’re up for the challenge, consider participating in a house swap, which involves exchanging temporary living arrangements with another traveler. I have never done this, but I know people who have.

Families or bigger parties may find this choice extremely economical. It allows you to use the whole house without having to pay exorbitant nightly fees.

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Opt for Low-Cost Carriers and Alternative Transportation

Passengers walking towards a parked AnadoluJet airplane, a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines, on a cloudy day at an airport tarmac in Turkey.

While legacy airlines almost always have a larger network of flights and more facilities, their ticket costs might soar during times of high travel demand. To save money on airfare, choose low-cost or ultra-low-cost airlines (ULCCs) when making your travel arrangements.

For example, swap Turkish Airlines for AnadoluJet or Pegusus instead.

Particularly on short-haul routes, LCC airlines are renowned for providing tickets that are noticeably less than those of their legacy competitors. But since they may add up rapidly, it’s important to read the tiny print and account for any extra costs for checked bags, seat assignments, or other costs like food and drinks. 

If the distance is manageable to drive, you may want to consider taking a road vacation rather than flying. Driving might be a more affordable option now that gas costs are so low, particularly if you’re going with a group and can divide the cost.

If you’re traveling alone or on a low budget, consider other choices like trains or buses, which may save you a lot of money over flying.

Look For Package Deals And Travel Bundles

Many travel agencies offer package discounts and bundles that include airfare, lodging, and sometimes even activities or rental vehicles during the busiest travel seasons. As you order these services together, you may often earn substantial savings as compared to reserving each item alone.

Look out for special offers and discounts from online travel companies, hotels, and airlines. Furthermore, consider joining loyalty programs or subscribing to email newsletters to stay updated about forthcoming bargains and exclusive deals.

Benefit From Credit Card Rewards And Loyalty Programs

A person in a yellow sweater uses a tablet while holding a credit card, managing travel expenses during peak season.

If you travel often, this is the ideal time to take advantage of your credit card rewards and loyalty program points. Credit card issuers, hotels, and airlines usually offer incentives and discounts for using points during popular travel times, making it a great way to partially offset your costs.

Before making a reservation, make sure you have enough points or miles from your credit card reward programs and loyalty program accounts to cover all or part of your travel expenses. If you don’t have enough points for a free flight or hotel stay, you may be able to use them to get an upgrade!

Look For Discounts And Promotions

Peak travel seasons often result in a rush of sales and incentives from different travel companies. Look out for deals, discounts, and promos that may help you save money on travel, lodging, or activities.

To keep up with the newest offers, subscribe to the email newsletters and follow your favorite travel businesses on social media.

Additionally, think about using applications or websites that compile and choose the greatest offers from a variety of sources to find travel deals.

Travel In Groups And Split Costs

Whether it’s family or friends, traveling in a group may help you save a lot of money overall, especially during the busiest times of the year. You may drastically reduce your personal trip budget by dividing the cost of lodging, transportation, and even activities and cooking at your apartment instead of eating out every night.

Prioritize Destinations With A Lower Cost Of Living

A large circular structure with a star design inside, mounted on a platform in Goreme, Cappadocia against a blue sky with clouds.

Setting lower-cost-of-living places as your priority during peak season is another way to save money. Think of visiting lesser-known or off-the-beaten-path locations where lodging, dining, and entertainment costs are typically lower.

By straying from tourist attractions, you may find hidden treasures and immerse yourself in real, local experiences, all while stretching your vacation budget.

Final Word On Saving Money

Although the busiest travel times may definitely burden your bank account, you can still enjoy your well-earned vacation without going over budget if you exercise some flexibility and preparation.

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