How To Stretch Your Travel Budget

You’re probably ready for a trip—and you’re not alone. 94 percent of Americans are planning to take a trip this year. If you’re getting back in the trip planning saddle, setting your travel budget is a good place to start. 

If you’re thinking ‘What travel budget?’—not to worry! These four money-saving tips will help you stretch your travel budget further the next time you plan a trip.

  1. Set Fare Alerts

You know the old travel adage—if at first you don’t find a good flight price, set a fare alert. No? Well, the advice still holds.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Head to your preferred flight booking platform and perform a search.

Step 2: Set a fare alert. 

Step 3: Be ready to book if the price drops into a range that matches your budget. 

Questioning whether you should book? Here are a few things to consider: 

  • U.S. law requires all airlines (foreign and domestic) to give travelers a full refund if they cancel within a 24-hour window of booking.
  • TripIt Pro regularly checks airline prices, always looking to see if there’s a better price than what you paid (less any change fees). If you’re eligible for a credit or refund, TripIt will send you an alert to contact your carrier or booking agent. 
  • Our friends at Thrifty Traveler, a site that helps you travel more for less, are a great resource for finding flight deals.    
  1. Use points and miles to stretch your travel budget

For many travelers, travel credit card points and airline miles have been piling up (or sitting idle) over the past year or so. If that’s the case, there’s perhaps no better way to stretch your travel budget than cashing in your miles for a free or discounted ticket. (That goes for your expiring airline credits, too!)

Point Tracker in TripIt Pro stores your reward account numbers, balances, and expiration dates in one place—now with an improved view of your point balances and history to help you manage your reward programs.

  1. Avoid Baggage Fees

Ideally, all of your travel essentials would fit into a carry-on bag, but that’s not always the case. Extended WFA (that is, work from anywhere) trips, leisure travel, and seasonal weather patterns can all impact your need to check a bag. If you do need to pay a visit to bag drop, be sure to book airfare that includes a checked bag. (A Basic Economy fare, for example, typically does not include a checked bag.) Doing so will not only save you time at the airport, but it will also help prevent unexpected charges from draining your travel budget.

  1. Consider a vacation rental for group travel

Staying in a vacation rental is a great way to save money and stretch your travel budget to many destinations. Booking an entire home is especially beneficial for group or family trips—providing enough space for everyone to have their own room while offering a communal spot to hang out or plan the day’s adventure.