Janet Alvarez
Executive Editor

As Executive Editor of Wise Bread & an anchor for WHYY/NPR, Janet Alvarez is a formidable consumer advocate, personal finance and investing expert. She appears frequently in national media, including the Today Show, Good Morning Washington, ABC and CBS News, Bloomberg TV, Cheddar TV, and more.

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5 Ways to Save Big as You Plan Your Next Vacation

How to save big when it’s safe to take your next vacation

By Janet Alvarez, Executive Editor
Advertorial Disclosure

This is a sponsored post by Bank of America as part of Wise Bread's continued partnership with them.

Many of us are eager to resume travel again as restrictions are slowly being lifted. If you’re planning a vacation in the coming months, it’s important to remember that with a little preparation, you can enjoy some serious savings on travel. Here are some useful tips to save big when it’s safe to take your next vacation:

Travel Mid-Week

Booking travel mid-week can yield savings of over 35% on airfare and hotels (these tend to be more expensive on weekends). As an added bonus, there are likely to be fewer crowds. For example, for my Labor Day trip this year, I plan on actually traveling the day after Labor Day — on a Tuesday. I was even able to use airline miles to book this ticket, because demand was so much lower mid-week than over Labor Day weekend. That’s a double savings win!

Maximize Cash Back

Maximizing the cash back you earn while paying for your vacation is one of the best — and easiest — ways to reduce your overall trip expense. The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card allows you to earn a whopping 3% cash back on the category of your choice (Preferred Rewards members can earn even more). Since you can change your category once a month, you can earn cash back in the travel category when you book your airfare and hotel, and switch the category to dining or gas the month you actually take the trip to enjoy more rewards while on vacation.

Keep Things Simple

It may feel like you need to make up for lost time, but you can minimize both trip planning stress and expenses when you focus on just one or two destinations. This will minimize costly itinerary snafus and give you more time to compare deals. By keeping travel straightforward and simple, you can focus on what matters most (R&R) while maximizing savings.

Focus on Domestic Travel or Consider a Road Trip

The pandemic has made international travel a bit more complicated, including testing requirements, more limited flight schedules, and fewer open amenities in some countries. These factors can all add extra expense and effort to travel overseas, which makes the beautiful U.S. of A. one of the most affordable — and accessible — travel destinations. In addition, you might consider a road trip to your favorite destination to cut down on airfare and avoid a busy airport.

Take Advantage of Limited Change & Cancellation Fees

Don’t forget that local travel restrictions and requirements could change at any time — though many airlines and hotels are still offering free change or cancellation policies. This is helpful for keeping your plans flexible, and since prices can change at the last-minute due to variable demand and availability, you can often find even cheaper options a day or two before you travel. As an example: I booked a hotel well in advance for a trip to NYC this month, only to find rooms were nearly $100 cheaper as the day of travel neared. I cancelled my existing reservation, got my money back, and secured a new room for $100 less per night, saving me over $300 in total. This perk won’t last forever, so maximize your savings by keeping an eye on price fluctuations, taking advantage of flexibility and making changes when you can.