It has been brought to my attention that airfare prices are at their highest levels since 2009 - SIGH. And while this information is disappointing, it doesn't completely knock me out of the traveling arena for the year. I just have to implement (insert dramatic music here) "The B Plan".
Here are some of the ways I will adjust my travel plans:
· MORE DOMESTIC TRIPS: Domestic flights are less expensive than international flights simply because they carry fewer taxes. Yes, I was hoping to make it to Europe this year, or maybe even Asia. But until airfare prices begin to come down, I will concentrate on checking a few domestic locations off my list such as Key West, San Francisco, Washington, DC and Atlanta. New to the list - Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, CA.
· ROAD TRIPS: Even though gas prices are still elevated, hitting the road is a less expensive option than flying, especially when traveling with kids. Living in Chicago makes weekend trips to St. Louis, Milwaukee, or the beach and wine counties of Michigan an easy drive. You might even find me and my convertible in Canada for a long weekend. And let's not forget that Chicago itself is loaded with things to do and neighborhoods to explore. An entire weekend could be devoted to visiting the many architecture landmarks in the area including quite a few Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and homes.
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LAST MINUTE PACKAGES: I am a planner who prefers to have my trips planned out well in advance. This builds excitement and helps me get through rough days. However, in these tough travel times, I will have to be flexible with my travel dates and stay on the lookout for last minute package deals. Signing up for email alerts from sites such as Airfare Watch Dog and TravelZoo will help me track down the best deals out there.
- VOLUME DISCOUNTS: I am constantly receiving emails from sites such as LivingSocial, Groupon, Tablet, Bungolow, and Jetsetter offering deals on hotel accommodations. The catch? The total amount of the stay must be paid in advance and dates are limited. Another option is Vacationist (the eBay of travel), where you bid on hotels and vacation packages. Again, these options will force me to remain flexible. If a great hotel deal comes across the radar - and I can find reasonable airfare - I'm off.
- COMBINE TRIPS: I have two family trips on the docket this summer: Atlanta and Cancun. After giving it some thought, I realized that flying to Atlanta, back to Chicago, and then 3 weeks later, flying from Chicago to Cancun makes no sense. Instead I have combined the 2 trips. I will fly to Atlanta and from there fly straight to Cancun. I checked the price difference and combining the trips saves me $134 per ticket. That’s over $400 savings for the 3 tickets I must purchase!
There are so many other ways I have, or will, adjust for the rising cost of travel. But my biggest adjustment will be remaining flexible. Yes, I wanted to attend the North Sea Jazz Festival taking place in Curacao, but I’m sure Curacao is just as beautiful during a time when prices are a little lower. I just won’t get to sing along with Santana. Maybe next time……
How are you combating the rising costs of travel? Have your plans changed?