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The demand for travel has steadily increased over the last year, even though the Covid-19 pandemic is far from being over. Through the first nine days of August, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened over 18 million passengers, nearly three times more than the same time last year.

While still 20% lower than the traffic seen in 2019, the roaring comeback of travel has lead to a lack of airline seats, hotel rooms and overwhelmed staff. However, competition is as fierce as ever to get consumers back on the road and there are plenty of deals to be had if you look in the right place.

With the tools and strategies listed below, you’ll be well prepared to save on your upcoming travel expenses.

How to save money on travel

Use flight search aggregators and deal websites

You should always start your flight searches on a search aggregator such as Google Flights or Momondo. These websites bring together a list of flights that match the needs of your itinerary, and will send you to an external website like the airline’s website or an online travel agency to complete the booking process.

This is a great place to get a sense of what your airfare will cost, and give you additional options and booking ideas if you are flexible on dates and times.

However, if you are the type of traveler that is always looking for a bargain, there are several flight deal websites that will send you alerts when a particularly good deal is live. Some have a recurring subscription cost. Here are a few popular services:

There are also dozens of social media accounts that post flight deals regularly. There is likely at least one page curated for your preferred airport. Type into Google “______ (insert your preferred airport) flight deals on social media”, and you should be able to find an account that posts regularly.

Several accounts that can help you find deals are:

Rental cars

The car market has been on tilt since the start of the pandemic. Prices for renting and purchasing vehicles have been at record highs in recent months, leaving travelers with few affordable options.

Instead of booking directly with one of the large rental car operators, consider these options as additional resources before reserving a rental car the old fashioned way.

Costco rental car

Costco is a favorite for many American shoppers, but did you know they offer travel services as well? Next time you’re looking for a rental car, take a look at the Costco rental car website. By putting in your travel dates and location, the site will aggregate the best deals for you. In addition, Costco members qualify for additional discounts and free upgrades.

You do not need a membership to search through Costco, but you will need one to check out and secure a rental car.


Similar to the Costco rental car site, Autoslash is an aggregator that pulls together information of the best rental car deals at your destination. 

Once you input your travel information and preferences, Autoslash will email you within minutes with the best rental car deals.

Autoslash is completely free to use and is well known for being one of the best places to secure a cheap car rental.


Sometimes referred to as the ‘AirBnB of cars’, is a peer-to-peer marketplace where you can rent cars from owners directly.

You’ll find all sorts of options through Turo, including regular everyday cars all the way to super luxury vehicles.

The benefit of using Turo is that prices typically do not surge like traditional rental car agencies, so it can be a great alternative if you want to save money.

Hotels vs. Airbnb

Using airline credit cards to save on baggage fees

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 2X miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, 2X miles per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, 2X miles per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and 1X mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

  • Annual fee

    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Drive to a different airport

If you don’t mind a road trip before your next flight, departing from a different airport than normal can save you serious cash.

For example, if you live in Salt Lake City, you are only roughly six hours away from Las Vegas and Denver. Or if you live in San Diego, the quick trip to LAX may be worth it. It could make the difference between hundreds of dollars and several layovers in some cases.

In a search for flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (NRT) for Sept. 18-25, the most reasonable itinerary is $610 in economy on Air Canada with a four hour layover in Vancouver. For the same dates but departing from San Diego, you would be paying $947 on American Airlines and Japan Airlines with two layovers — with one ironically at LAX.

Don’t forget about points and miles

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Rewards

    $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, and 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.99% to 22.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Bottom line

As the demand for travel continues to rise, prices will likely see an increase as well.

Saving money on travel may take an extra few steps or a bit more research, but it can prove to be beneficial for your bank account. Between credit card rewards, being flexible with accommodations and using social media to your advantage, traveling can still be affordable.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

By Harriet