Travel is usually expensive and even more so during global inflation and global shortages, due to Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. But there are ways to travel cheap(er) by doing things differently, doing your research and/or booking differently/better.
Here are a few ideas for a trip across the Atlantic:
- find the cheapest departure times— this has become more difficult now that ‘everyone’ works from home and can technically travel ‘off-peak’ (if such a thing still exists). Statistically, however, there are days that are cheaper, such as Tuesday and Wednesday and August 23. Do your research.
- avoid arriving or traveling on vacation ‘squeezes’– although you may be aware of school holiday dates in your home country, remember to do your research on holiday dates in your destination – to avoid them. In the UK, for example, this is the weekend of 23/24 July, while across the English Channel it is much earlier. In France, children split up for the summer on the weekend of July 1. These are the dates when the queues will be longer and the security lines endless. Think ahead, also for prices.
- avoid baggage check-in whenever possible—industry experts in the US and EU continue to say that more and more luggage will be lost this summer due to airport strikes and staff shortages. You don’t want to spend time locating your luggage, so travel light, with just one suitcase, if necessary, instead of two – maybe less clothes, but 50% less room for holiday hassles.
- aim low-that is, after being forced to stay at home for two years, is it really necessary to plan a trip across three continents, many flights and several hotels? It just adds to the stress, bureaucracy and leaves more room for error (not least because of the various Covid-19 travel restrictions across Europe). Stick to one country, take a direct flight (whenever possible), and don’t plan to drive far. For example, road trips in the south of France in summer are always at least twice as long as in winter and add to that the strikes planned in the UK and France on their respective transport systems, you don’t want to spend ‘vengeance’ summer holidays who are stuck in traffic.
- book with deals and view cheap travel options—for example, there are two new low-cost airlines flying between US destinations and European hubs, such as PLAY and French Bee. They both launched deals to promote the new routes. The Telegraph has also reported on how to get around Germany, for example with a train fare costing less than £10 ($12) in total. Again, do your research.
- book, book and book early—in a world of shortages (staff, food, rooms, rental cars) it’s always best to book everything in advance. In France, for example, this means up to each lunch – if you want to eat something that has not been frozen first.
- change the nature of your vacation†the guard offers five interesting ideas for vacationing on the cheap, such as house swapping, staying in a Highland bothy (it’s free) and making your way around the world.
- And last but not least, how and to whom to pay?– it’s always worth paying with your credit card so you have another way to cancel. Package holidays may also be a better option as tour operators are required to find a way to get you to your hotel if your flight has been canceled and you have both booked directly through them.