If you are getting ready to travel for the holidays, you might get a huge shock from the stickers. Airlines, hotels, and car rental companies typically increase their prices during peak vacations. But this year, some of those costs are already on the rise as part of the general inflation surge that has hit consumers since the spring.
According to recent data from the Ministry of Labor, the cost of rental cars has increased by 42.9%. Meanwhile, hotels are up 18%.
The only bright spot is that air fares fell 6.4% in September as other travel costs rose. But that drop could be short-lived, as holiday prices could turn around towards the end of November and December.
How to deal with higher travel costs
The better you prepare for the increased travel costs during the holidays, the less likely you are to go into debt this season. First of all, start saving now for your next trips. Take a look at your budget and identify a few categories of expenses to reduce. For example, eating out less often might ensure that you aren’t in the red if the car you hire later this year costs you $ 100 more than you expected.
Another good bet is to get yourself a side business. If you are able to take on a position in addition to your main job, you can spend your income on vacation. This could be useful not only for travel expenses, but also for gifts and other expenses and obligations. And since many businesses need extra help before the holidays, finding a side job can be easier than you think.
Finally, take a look at your credit cards and see what reward programs they currently offer. If you don’t get a lot of cash for hotel stays, rental cars, and flights, consider applying for a new credit card that will reward you more generously for those purchases.
Additionally, if you are planning to travel to your vacation destination, having a Travel Rewards Card could help you reap additional benefits and savings. Many of these cards are packed with perks that can make your trips cheaper, like free checked baggage.
Book your plans early
As the holidays approach, the availability of flights, rental cars and hotel rooms is likely to decline. Therefore, now is a good time to consider reserving your plans. Most hotels have pretty flexible cancellation policies, so if you book a room now and the prices drop next month, you can most likely cancel without a penalty. Airlines are much less flexible though, so be sure to do your research before booking a flight.
Traveling for the holidays could mean spending more than you planned. The more you prepare now, the more you can enjoy the holidays without going into debt.