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How to Keep Summer Travel Safe and Inexpensive

Learn some of the best travel tips from a former flight attendant.

Summer travel plans with friends are one of the best parts of your twenties.
Credit: Shutterstock/ Dmitry Molchanov

The summer is quickly approaching and it is about time to start making those summer plans. Whether you’re planning a vacation with your family, a trip with the girls, or going on a romantic getaway, safe and budget-friendly travel is a must. Summer travel can quickly add up and become expensive if you’re not careful. Everyone is traveling, the weather is nice and so prices increase. However, there are ways to combat the fees. As a former flight attendant with one of America’s largest airlines, I have some of the best tips for staying safe and on budget this summer.

I Guess We All Had The Same Idea

Summertime is one of the most popular times of the year to travel. With the weather warming up and the kids out of school, it is no wonder why people choose summer to make their plans. Airlines, hotels, resorts, and other tourist-attracting places know this too, and they hike up their prices accordingly. However, summer travel does not have to break the bank, as long as you book with purpose and intention.

Meaning, you need to figure out what you want out of this trip and stick to it. Do you want to relax on the beach? Does hiking in the mountains sound right for you? Maybe exploring a new city is what you are looking for. Whatever the goal of the trip is, this needs to be established, first thing.

If you want to do all of these things, that is not out of the question. Some destinations can accommodate these desires, however, the price tag may increase.

Summer travel hiking destination
Staying active on vacation and exploring the natural terrain can be extremely rewarding, especially when done with friends.
Credit: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

I Have No Idea Where I Want To Travel

You know you want to go on a trip, but you don’t know where you want to go or what you want to do. If you are simply stuck between wanting to do it all and knowing that you have to narrow it down, you have some decision-making to do. When you are traveling with other people, convene with them and figure out what they want out of the trip, this should help you decide on a general destination or a list of options that can later be narrowed down.

On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes everyone wants to go somewhere different. In this case, you may need to get creative in your decision-making tactics. A recent trend has been popping up on social media. It features groups of friends and even families putting their top picks into a hat. They then narrow down the options one by one until they are left with one destination. This last piece of paper then reveals where the group will be traveling for their vacation.  

Since summer travel can be pricey, the options that make it into the hat may need to be researched before they are entered. However, this is a great option for a group who disagrees on where they would like to visit.

Of course, everyone would need to be in agreement on the final selection and okay with their choices not being picked. This is a great way to choose the destination and make the process fun and light-hearted while keeping the decision fair.

Okay, I Know Where I’m Going. Now What?

Now that you know what the destination is, you can start working out the details. Summer travel means different things to each person, decide what time frame you want to go for and what month works best for you. The most expensive aspects of traveling are transportation, lodging, and food. These key pieces of vacationing need to be researched and budgeted to maintain a reasonable cost and to track spending. Paying attention to these key three aspects will help you to keep expenses from getting out of hand.

Airfare and Other Transportation

Airfare for summer travel is at its lowest in the months of May and September. This is likely due to families being unable to travel because of school. Whatever the reason, it is a great time for people traveling without kids to take off. Flights are quieter, resorts are less busy, and prices are lower. Depending on where you are heading, prices can be lower by nearly $200.

Young couple on airplane during summer travel trip
The vacation starts once you step foot on the airplane. Make sure to treat it that way! Credit: Shutterstock/ illpaxphotomatic

When traveling by air, another important hack is to fly out of international airports when applicable. This is important to prioritize even when traveling to domestic destinations. This is due to the high quantity of flight options and large populations that even out the expenses that airlines and airports must account for when calculating prices. Flying out of smaller airports can raise the price anywhere from $30-$1,500. This money could be spent on other expenses of the vacation or simply saved for other things.

Some destinations will require a car rental, shuttle services, or public transportation. For these ventures, try and book through travel aid companies such as Expedia, Priceline, and Economy Bookings.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

People oftentimes overlook the simplest option which is using a travel agent. Many travel agents do not charge any fees for aid, as they are compensated by the companies they book through. This means, you get a discount and you get the stress-free experience of not having to plan anything. Travel agents will also be available to help if things go wrong such as your flight gets moved and the shuttle service needs to be adjusted. They are there to help and a great tool to take advantage of. No one knows how to travel like a travel agent does.

@mvsser

I fully committed to the bit and used a travel agent and it was amazing 10/10 —> @Fora Travel

♬ original sound – Jake Musser

Travel agents help with the entire trip, not just transportation. Lodging can be a scary thing to handle. Nobody wants to be the one to book the hotel that is straight out of a horror movie. Unfortunately, when booking a place to stay there is no way to know what it will be beyond the images online. Travel agents eliminate this problem. They ask for your budget and what accommodations you’ll be needing and wanting. From here they do all the work and you are guaranteed to be in a desirable place.

The Foodies Aren’t Going To Like This One

Planning out meals beforehand will help to keep expenses down. When you learn where you will be staying and spending most of your time, it becomes easier to find places to eat. Looking up restaurants that offer what you like at a reasonable price should be one of the steps to creating the itinerary.

Another way to save money is to go grab some groceries that are quick and easy to create snacks and meals with for when you are on the go or just feel like relaxing. Beach days are great times for this kind of eating. Everyone loves a picnic. Sandwiches, fruits, and snacks always make for a good meal that is quick and inexpensive.

Safety First

As we are heading into the travel season, it is important to remember that the importance of safety doesn’t go away just because you do. People often lower their inhibitions when on vacation. No one wants to be the Debbie downer who reminds their friends of dangers. This is why it’s important for everyone to be educated on safety before heading on the trip.  

1. Limit the Social Media Posts Until You Get Home

It’s easy to get excited and forget about the basics of safety on the internet. However, posting your location and giving a regular update of where you eat, visit, and shop is a great way to stumble upon the wrong company. Unfortunately, this also gives unfriendly viewers an idea of your habits and possibly where you may be staying.

Of course, we want to share how much fun we’re having and all of the cool and fun things we are doing. However, your friends and family will be just as excited to see your photos and videos after you are safely home.

Woman taking photo of her martini by the pool
Everyone loves a nice poolside martini, especially the gram.
Credit: Shutterstock/ Dasha Petrenko

I’m not saying you can’t post when on vacation. Just try and limit visuals or tagging places that could give away your location. Go ahead and post that photo of the cute drink on your story, just don’t tag the bar, at least until you leave.

2. Make New Friends But, Be Smart About It

One exciting part of travel is meeting new people and making new friends around the country and world. Giving out your room number is obviously not a smart move. However, when you are riding the elevator and someone gets off on the same floor as you, it can be difficult to dodge them seeing where you head.

A good rule of thumb is to try and avoid getting off the elevator at the same time as strangers, especially if you are alone. It is also smart not to ride the elevator alone with strangers. However, sometimes this is unavoidable.

Friends gathered by the pool
You can meet the best people on vacation. Credit: Shutterstock/ DavideAngelini

One way to deter issues arising is to strike up a conversation. This may seem like the opposite of what you should do. However, conversation lets the person know that you are aware of the situation and their presence and that you are paying attention. Avoid keeping your head down and looking at your phone when in these scenarios. Make sure to make eye contact so that the potential threat knows that you have seen their face.

3. Try Not To Look Like A Tourist

Tourists are an easy target for criminals. Often times tourists do not know where they are going. This causes them to spend time looking down at their maps and not paying attention to their surroundings. This gives thieves time to attack. It also makes you vulnerable to accepting help and directions from the wrong person. This can lead you to unsafe places. While help from locals can be nice, it unfortunately can lead to dangerous results. To avoid this, map out your routes or step into a café, store, or restaurant to ask for directions.

When on vacation, it seems like the perfect time to whip out the expensive bag that you’ve been wanting to wear out. However, this can make you a target. Instead of wearing flashy clothing that suggests you are carrying money or expensive items, try wearing nondescript clothing and bags instead. This will also make you blend into crowds better which will keep you from becoming a target of interest.

Get To Planning

Traveling should be fun. Plan out your trips ahead of time and make sure to discuss safety precautions with your travel buddies before heading out. This will eliminate the likelihood of arising issues. Having a fun, stress free time is what vacationing is about. At the end of the day, follow your intuition. If something feels wrong, it probably is. It’s great to get out of your comfort zone, and vacations are a terrific time to do so, but there must still be limits to your exploration. Now get to planning, summer is right around the corner.

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Written By

Hi, everyone! My name is Emma. I'm finishing up my last semester as a student of Communication and Marketing at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Donna Pace

    May 10, 2024 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips! Especially concerning safety and enlisting a travel agent! I love the idea of letting someone else do all the tedious parts.

  2. Dottie Krull

    May 10, 2024 at 3:26 pm

    Emma,
    Great article.
    You bring up things I never thought about before.
    Thanks!!

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