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35% of Americans plan to travel more in 2022. Here’s how to make it more affordable

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Many people want to travel more this year. Here is how to achieve it.

Key points

  • Many Americans have a goal of traveling more in 2022 than in recent years.
  • Planning ahead and using the right credit card can save you money while traveling and keep you out of debt.

Many people stopped traveling in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and vaccines were not yet available. While travel increased in 2021, many people’s plans were thwarted first by the delta variant’s appearance over the summer and then by omicron over the holiday season.

If you expect to travel more in 2022, you should prepare to pay. These days, almost everything costs more money thanks to inflation. Between that and the potential for high demand, travel could become a more expensive prospect this year. But don’t worry, there are steps you can take to travel without draining your savings account or racking up debt in the process.

In a late December survey by Ally Bank, 35% of Americans said they want to travel more this year. Lindsey Bell, chief money and markets strategist at Ally Bank, has some tips for making her next trip affordable.

1. Plan ahead

You can often save money on travel by getting organized and planning ahead of time. Bell says, “Consider booking summer flights three or more months in advance, and if you know your destination, you could take advantage of record-low-priced airline tickets earlier this year.”

Of course, there is a danger in booking plans too far in advance. If your circumstances change, you may need to modify your plans or itinerary, which could result in financial loss. But if you’re based in a specific destination — say, you have family all over the country you know you’ll be visiting this summer — then it’s worth booking flights in advance.

You should also take advantage of low hotel rates and book them early. Hotels often offer flexible cancellation policies, so there’s little to lose by pricing when they’re most affordable.

2. Fly strategically

These days, many people are working remotely and have more flexibility with their schedules. If that’s you, it could really benefit you when booking travel. As Bell says, “Flying earlier in the week (or traveling weekdays instead of weekends) can also translate to better deals.”

Let’s say you’re looking to visit friends for a holiday weekend. Flying on a Friday and returning on a Monday could mean paying a small fortune for a flight. But if you have the option to fly on a Wednesday, work remotely for the rest of the week, and then return home on Tuesday, your flight could cost a lot less.

3. Use the right credit cards

Using the right credit cards to book your trips could result in big savings. If you have a travel rewards credit card, for example, you may be entitled to money-saving benefits like free checked bags on flights. Plus, the right credit card could make it easy to earn bonus miles or hotel points that you can redeem for free flights or stays.

The right credit card might also offer some protection in case your plans change or go awry. Bell says, “Check out the benefits your credit card may offer regarding rentals, insurance coverage, and other things.”

That said, if you’re traveling this year, it might also be a good idea to purchase travel insurance. Having a policy in place might give you more freedom to cancel or adjust plans as needed.

No matter what your travel plans look like this year, it’s worth doing everything you can to save money while you’re making them. These tips could make it possible to do more, see more and enjoy more in 2022.

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