Americans are tired of staying at home. That was clear in 2021 when retail sales numbers went up, large crowds gathered for shows and political events, and restaurants started serving to a full house once more. Travel also increased, though not as much as we expect it to this year. Folks are already planning summer vacations, fall getaways, and winter retreats.
According to Bank of America, 24% of Americans have the desire to travel more this year. That number is probably higher, but it’s hard to keep travel on budget when inflation is still rising. If that’s your story, we have some suggestions for you. There are financial moves you can make now to grow your travel budget for this year.
1. Shop Around for the Best Prices
Airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies all took a big hit during the 2020 pandemic. They’ve been trying to recoup those losses for the past year, but rising prices and the omicron variant have slowed down their recovery. That’s good news for travelers because they’re offering some of the lowest prices we’ve seen in years. Many flights to the Caribbean are under $100.
It’s not just distant vacation destinations that are offering good deals. Local resorts inside the U.S. had low occupancy rates during the pandemic also. That mountain resort in Colorado or beachside cottage in Daytona are both a lot cheaper to rent this year, and they’re easy to get to. Best of all, you won’t need to leave the country.
2. Find a Side Gig for Extra Cash
This will help you in all areas, not just your travel expenses. Find a side gig that you enjoy and bank all the money you make from it. Walk dogs. Watch your neighbor’s children. Write articles on a freelance site. These all became widely popular during the pandemic when folks were out of work. Some of them liked it so much they do it full time now.
Use your home computer to make money. There are hundreds of online opportunities and many of them don’t require any experience at all. One of them is taking surveys. There are companies that pay cash and gift cards for you to give them your opinion about their products and services. You can pick up some cool travel incentives with those gigs.
3. Apply for a Travel Rewards Credit Card
Anyone who flies frequently has probably heard the airline’s pitch on getting their branded credit card. Those are okay, but most of them limit you to flying just that airline. Companies like Chase and Capital One issue travel rewards cards that offer cashback or points on multiple carriers, along with car rental agencies and hotels.
You might want to combine this step with getting a side gig because interest rates are going up this year. Spend responsibly when you do use your card, limiting card purchases to only those situations where you can earn a reward. To avoid interest payments, pay off your full balance at the end of each month or within a few months after your return from your trip.
The Bottom Line: Travelers will be Traveling Again this Year
Plan everything as far in advance as possible because more travelers will be traveling again this year. Prices are low right now. They’ll get higher as demand increases. Find a side gig to help you pay for your travel and apply for a credit card that earns you cash back or travel points. There’s a great wide world out there. 2022 is a year we can see it again.