How to get best deals, beat higher costs during summer travel


Millions of Americans are hitting the road and headed to the airport this week despite the high cost of gas and airline tickets. A massive demand for summer travel suggests those prices could get even higher over the next few months.

Travel expert Brian Kelly, also known as “The Points Guy,” joined “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday to share tips on how to save money and beat higher costs when planning a summer vacation. One of his suggestions: find new or less-popular destinations.

“Go explore. Go somewhere you haven’t been before. Have some adventure,” he said.

Kelly encouraged travelers to start their research on Google.

“There are deals out there. Instead of having the mindset on a destination, choose your destination where the deals are,” he said. “On Google Flights, they actually have an ‘explore map.’ So you can put your home airport, and then it’ll show you on a map where the cheapest flights are. So plan your vacation that way instead of trying to just go to one place where everyone else is trying to go.”

AAA reports that more than 39 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles over the Memorial Day weekend. That’s up 8.3% from last year, bringing travel volumes almost in line with those from 2017.

This comes as gas prices remain at a record high, with the national average hitting $4.60 a gallon, according to AAA. The average cost of airfare in the U.S. is also high, surging more than 18% in April alone — the largest monthly increase on record, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Another way to beat high airfare prices is to book early, Kelly said. He noted that airfare demand could spike again when the U.S. government drops COVID-19 test requirements for travelers entering the U.S.

“Demand just keeps going up and up,” he said. “If the fare is decent and you’re comfortable with it, book it now because we see all the indicators are more people traveling.”

For those planning international trips, Kelly said Europe, Canada, Colombia and Nicaragua are among the best destinations for deals. But besides choosing new destinations, travelers who typically stay in hotels should consider alternative accommodations, he said.

“You should just understand that hotel prices are through the roof and services are down. You may not even get housekeeping, room service,” Kelly said. “So take a look and understand you know what you’re getting. That’s why so many people, especially families now, are booking home rentals. If you don’t get the daily housekeeping anyway, why not get more space and in a better location?”

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