5 Ways to Cut Travel Costs

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Summer is a great time to travel — but whether you are traveling this summer, or waiting till the fall or even winter, you are probably already thinking about transportation costs if your trip is on your calendar. Even if you don’t plan to travel any time soon, you might spend more than you like regularly on transportation. The average American family spends 19 percent of their household income on transportation, making it the second largest cost — second only to housing. You can save money on your daily transportation costs by making some lifestyle changes like driving your car less, and walking or biking when possible. You can also save money on bigger transportation costs (like traveling by plane or train) in other ways, such as searching for deals and joining loyalty programs. Here are five specific ways you can save on transportation costs.

1. Save when flying

Flying can be a great way to get somewhere faster than you could drive, but with the addition of security checks, boarding and exiting the plane, and potentially taking multiple planes, it can also be costly and stressful. One of the easiest ways to save money when flying is to use only a carry on bag when possible. Most airline companies now charge around $25 just for the first checked bag. You can also save money by flying airlines that offer free baggage, like SouthWest. You can also save on plane tickets by traveling at less popular times; often prices go up around the holidays or spring breaks.

Try looking for tickets mid-week instead of on the weekend, as the prices often go down in the middle of the week. Using search engines that allow you to search multiple airlines at once can be a helpful way to see low prices, but be sure to check the actual airline’s site after to see if the prices compare. Often you can save money over time by becoming part of an airline’s rewards program (although some search sites have these programs as well.)