The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money on Travel in 2024
The biggest travel trend in 2024? Doing more for less. Way, way less.
There are plenty of hot travel trends for 2024—gig tripping, set jetting, slow travel, sleep vacations. As the demand for travel continues to stay high, the niche pockets of how you can do it also grow in popularity. But no matter how popular traveling to see the setting of your favorite TV show gets, there will always be one travel trend that will always be popular: saving money.
While 96% of Americans are worried about the economy, a new Harris Poll survey commissioned by Intrepid Travel found that only 17% of Americans plan to travel less in the new year even as money is tighter. Instead, a lot of people simply plan on traveling cheaper. But what does that mean, beyond keeping your eye out for travel deals and hoping you stumble on cheap flights to the exact destination you hope to travel to?
One of the top ways people are looking to save money on trips is seeking out all-inclusive options. Super.com, a savings app, reports that 70% of Americans are interested in all-inclusive packages in 2024. All-inclusive packages have a lot of appeal for people who have set budgets for trips—you can determine how much you'll spend going in, and often get good deals for group and family travel.
Intrepid Travel reports that 48% of travelers plan on taking a beach vacation in 2024, and all-inclusive resorts are typically beachside destinations. It's so common in fact that Beach Bound Vacations even has a Beach Vacation tool that helps you find beach vacations in your price range.
But booking a cheap beach vacation isn't the only way to save money on 2024 travel. Here are some of the top tips for finding the best prices and getting the most for your money on your big adventures:
There is a 'best time' to book flights.
Last-minute travel booking will cost you money, every single time. Travel experts have gotten the best booking windows down to a science. Going recommends that you book during what it calls the Goldilocks Window. This is the period of time when prices are just right—for domestic travel that is three to six months in advance, and four to eight months in advance for international travel.
Expedia has a bit more precise window of when to book: 28 days in advance for domestic travel and 60 days in advance for international travel. Expedia also has other booking insights to help you save money: Sundays are the cheapest days to book flights, and Fridays are the most expensive.
That means, if you are planning to go on a spring break trip in March, the best time to book your travel would be a Sunday in the last two weeks in December (aka right about now) or the first two weeks in January.
Skip the airport.
One of the best travel hacks if you're looking to save money? Don't fly. If you have the time, or are flexible about your destination, consider taking a trip that doesn't require going through airport security. A lot of short trips in North America take roughly the same amount of time on a bus as they do on a plane, for a significantly cheaper price. Think trips from Seattle to Vancouver, Austin to Houston. Plus, you'll be taking a much more environmentally friendly method of travel.
Another bus alternative? Trains. Train travel had a huge comeback in 2023, and it can be just as glamorous as it can be cost efficient. Amtrak offers a wide variety of Night Owl tickets for ultra-cheap prices, and train travel through Europe has long been the preferred method for budget travelers.
One of the greatest travel hacks out there is no secret. Google Flights has a flight-finding feature that allows you to select your departure destination, and then see an entire map full of cheap flight options at various times of the year. Doing this can help you find very cheap flights to a destination you might not have ever considered, or tickets to your dream destination at a time of year you hadn't considered traveling in.
The more specific you are with destination, dates, and other trip details, the more money you're likely to spend. If you're looking to find information about any given destination before you book a trip, Kayak actually has a tool that helps you determine the best time to travel.
Know your own preferences.
An all-inclusive resort is a great way to save money on food and beverage costs for beach vacations and cruises are great ways to bundle all travel expenses into one purchase. But be honest with yourself: Do you want to spend all of your time in a resort? Do you have sea legs? A key to getting the most out of your vacation and the money you spend on it is choosing the right ways to save.
For some people, that might mean selecting the budget flight to Europe but staying at the best hotel. For others, that might mean staying at cheap hostels but trying the best restaurants in town. And for others still, the goal is getting under a warm sun on a beautiful beach, without much fuss. That's where those all-inclusive resorts come in.
Looking for more travel deals?
Here's our running list of all the cheap travel deals you can book right now, and you can head here for all the latest flight deals plus cheap things to do and savings on hotels, cruises, trains, and more to help you plan for your next trip.