Summer travel plans have been met with sky-high prices that may be out of reach for some. However, resourceful travelers who can embrace flexibility are finding ways to enjoy a vacation and stay within budget.
Chelsea Hampshaw was worried that the surge in summer travel to Europe would make her family’s annual trip to London unaffordable. Then she spotted a deal.
“I was searching. We just weren’t gonna be able to go this year, flights were so expensive and so sparse. And so as soon as this popped up, it was like ‘Oh, I guess we can make this happen this year,'” Hampshaw said.
While it required a seven-hour drive from South Carolina to Washington’s Dulles Airport, a flight on a lesser-known airline and arrival at an airport 30 miles outside London, the family of six managed to save around $6,000.
“Pretty big difference,” Hampshaw said.
Airlines are creating some new options to help make European trips more affordable for their passengers.
Norse Atlantic Airways, a Norwegian low-cost carrier, just announced service from Washington in May. The airline offers both premium and economy class, allowing travelers to choose the price point and level of comfort and amenities they prefer.
Its first flight to London’s Gatwick Airport sold out, said Norse Atlantic CEO Bjorn Larsen.
Earlier this year, JetBlue announced that direct flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris would begin on June 29.
Overall, airfares to Europe are currently at a six-year high, averaging about $1,200 per person, according to Hopper, a travel website.
Hotel prices are also up, with a 37% increase compared to last year, especially in popular destinations like Rome and Madrid.
But despite the inflationary pressures affecting travel plans for many, AAA still anticipated a summer-travel-flight-delays-cancellations/?ftag=YHFa5b931b” data-ylk=”slk:record number;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>record number of travelers over this Fourth of July holiday.
Finding a deal in this challenging travel landscape requires flexibility, according to Hayley Berg, the lead economist at Hopper.
“There are still deals to be found for summer travel, but you have to follow the deal, not the destination,” Berg said.
For instance, opting for a Caribbean beach vacation instead of a European destination like Ibiza or Mallorca can save travelers about three-quarters of the cost, she said.
Hopper suggests that the best deals from major U.S. airports are often found closer to home. Las Vegas, Miami and Denver can be reached for around $100, while tickets to some international destinations like Montego Bay, Jamaica, can be under $300. London may cost well over $1,000, while fares to Iceland and Dublin can be found around $500.
For Karen Hines and her family, avoiding flights and hotel expenses was the key to beating summer vacation inflation. Instead, they opted for a cruise to Bermuda to celebrate Karen Hines’ 60th birthday on Carnival’s newest ship.
“It was budget-friendly for all of us,” said Brandi Hines, highlighting the allure of an all-inclusive experience and the opportunity to explore various destinations and meet new people.
Experts suggest that if travelers can postpone their vacation plans until September or October, they may have a better chance of finding deals for the overseas destinations they’ve been yearning for.