Money·4 min read

Spring Travel: theSkimm on Cutting Extra Baggage

April 1, 2019

Raise your hand if you've ever felt personally victimized by expensive summer travel. Between airport food, baggage fees, and pricier-than-expected Airbnbs, the costs associated with travel can make you want to stay grounded. Take a breath. We’re giving you tips to taking off without leaving your budget behind.

Book it.

The most stressful part of your vacation happens before you’re actually OOO. Here’s how to keep things on the low...

For when you’re trying to find cheap flights…Seasons change and so do prime booking windows. CheapAir’s Annual Airfare Study found the best times to buy based on hundreds of millions of fares.

  • Winter: 54 days in advance. Holidays are a different thing. 'Tis the season to check your fare.

  • Spring: 75 days in advance. Think those warm weather thoughts into existence.

  • Summer: 76 days in advance. You’ve got time for days to plan for OOO Summer Fridays. PS: Our app calendar syncs with yours and reminds you to book travel ahead of long weekends.

  • Fall: 47 days in advance. Thanksgiving not included. What, are you surprised?

For when you’re traveling during the week…Good job. Because the cheapest days to fly tend to be Tuesdays and Wednesday, so avoiding weekend flights will save you some cash. Hint: there are fewer business travelers looking to fly midweek.

For when you want Kayak to do all the work for you…Don’t take the bait – yet. Some airlines (cough, Southwest, cough) don’t allow comparison sites to use their data. So make sure to check airline sites individually before booking to be positive you’re scoring the best deal.For when you don’t care when you go you just want to go…When Not Being Picky Pays Off: A Memoir. Score big when airlines eff up by signing up for alerts on error fares at Secret Flying and The Flight Deal. Just make sure your packing skills are on lock – you can save hundreds of dollars, but your flight may be when no summer is complete without a road trip…Get your wheels for cheap. You wouldn’t book a plane ticket without comparing prices and you shouldn’t do the same when renting a car. FYI, many of the sites you already use (insert: Kayak, Skyscanner, Expedia) have car rental comparisons. Once you get a rate, enter it on AutoSlash. If they find a lower rate, they’ll alert you to re-book.

For when gas is expensive…Don’t leave your wallet on empty. You can estimate how much your road trip will cost you in gas using AAA’s Fuel Cost Calculator. Once you hit the road, use a gas comparison (noticing a trend here?) app like GasBuddy to find the lowest-priced gas near you.

Pack n’ Save

You Marie Kondo-ed your apartment. Do the same to your suitcase. Here are some other tips to be minimalist with your budget.

For when the forecast calls for blue skies…Pack for rain. Summer thunderstorms and hurricane season (June - November) can delay your trip as badly as a winter blizzard. Download a smarter weather app, like Dark Sky. It gives you up-to-the-minute predictions and uses GPS to find your exact location. The app even gives you a window of time for weather changes (think: rain starting in 20 minutes), so you have time to run for cover if you forgot to pack your umbrella.

For when your trip includes a summer wedding...You’ve already put a wrinkle in your budget – don’t put a wrinkle in your dress. Roll your delicates (think: silk and chiffon) between sheets of tissue paper. They’ll stay smooth until you hang them at your destination. Bye, last minute dry cleaning fee.

For when you’re picturing yourself poolside…Stay shady. Your packing list should have the triple S: sunglasses, sun hat, and SPF. Here’s our sunscreen comparison article to get you started so you don’t shell out at the convenience store.

For when things are heating up…Cool, just not in your bag. Use pot holders to store your heat styling products. Because Monica hair IRL means a desperate trip to (insert: your local blow-dry salon).

For when you’ve got overhead luggage for your car...If your road trip includes surfboards or camping gear, reconsider your gas budget. That’s because roof racks make your car less aerodynamic, which costs you on fuel. According to the EPA, those big roof-top cargo boxes reduce your fuel economy by 10% to 25% on Interstate highways.


Last year, one in four Americans said they weren't taking summer vacations because they couldn’t afford it. But wasting those paid vacation days costs you and your sanity. Happy trails.

Want to continue to Spring Forward with us? We got you covered.

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