With just a few weeks before school ends for her two teenage boys, Sabrina Miskelly is knocking out some serious homework of her own.
She’s searching travel websites like crazy, trying to find a vacation her family can actually afford this summer.
”In the past, we’ve always been able to get to Orlando for about $200 per person. I’m looking at this year, and it’s close to $400. We’re a family of four, and I mean, I don’t want to say I’m pissed off, but I’m like it’s really frustrating how high prices are this year,” Miskelly said.
Miskelly’s exactly right.
She and her family can’t help but pay more this year because, according to nerdwallet.com, this summer’s travel prices, factoring in hotels, flights and rental cars, are up a whopping 9% over last year.
Hotel prices alone are up 8% this year and up 19% from 2019, according to Sally French from nerdwallet.com.
“These are the highest hotel prices we have ever seen,” said French.
So, with summer travel prices soaring, just what are hard-working folks like Miskelly and her husband, Trent, supposed to do? Stay home? No way.
”The most frustrating thing about it is that I’ve spent so much time researching prices on everything for this vacation,” Sabrina said.
So now with help from Katy Nastro, a money-saving travel expert with going.com, we’re about to give you three of the cheapest, but still exciting, budget-friendly destinations this summer.
Destination #1: Rocky Mountain Magical - Denver, Colorado
Flight price (roundtrip from Houston): $178.00 from now through August.
”It’s this really great combination of a city, with the mountains just a drive away, with so many outdoor activities to be had for kids of all ages,” Nastro said.
Destination #2: Blue-water-beautiful - Cancun, Mexico
Flight price (roundtrip from Houston): $256.00 from May through July.
”Exploring the area of Cancun, Mexico, you know, with the close proximity and the strong U.S. dollar against the peso, your family vacation dollars can actually go a lot further, and depending on what you’re looking for, you’ve got more of a beach scene, a pool scene and paradise,” Nastro said.
Destination #3: Charleston, South Carolina
Flight price (roundtrip from Houston): $247.00 from now through August.
”You’re getting a really charming city that’s on the coast. Plenty to do for the kids, as well as adults, and if you’re looking for something not beach related, you can actually get two cities in one by heading to Savannah, Georgia, just a short drive away,” Nastro said.
But remember, Miskelly needs help with hotels, as well, so we’ve got two easy hotel hacks to get you the lowest possible price.
Hotel Price Hack #1: Pay with hotel and credit card points
”Now, a lot of people may not even realize they are sitting on hotel points. These can be earned through, not just frequent hotel stays, but also through credit card spending. Many people don’t realize that they could be sitting on hundreds of dollars or cash rewards,” French said.
Hotel Price Hack #2: Search travel websites for the lowest price hotels and then call the hotels you like to directly book.
”Often, it’s better to book directly with that hotel itself than with the middleman travel website. Some of the benefits of booking a hotel direct can include actual cost savings, as well as some smaller benefits, things like free breakfast or a better room,” French said.