Traveling this summer could be more expensive, but vacation experts say there are some ways around that

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Do you know about the government’s trip cost fuel calculator?

If you haven’t made your summer travel reservations, this weekend may be a good time because prices are higher and will continue in that direction.

The recently released Hopper Consumer Travel Index report, which includes a six-month pricing forecast based on analysis of over a trillion historical flight and hotel prices, says that good prices on airfares, rental cars, and hotels are all evaporating quickly.

Do you know how to 'mix and match' fares?

The Hopper analysts say that at the moment, domestic round-trip airfare is averaging $285 per ticket, down 15% compared to this time last year. But, that’s at the moment.

Hayley Berg, Hopper’s lead economist, told ConsumerAffairs her team predicts that domestic airfare will rise through June – about 7% to $321 round-trip in May then rise another 5% more in July at $328. That’s a $40 swing from where they are today.

Is there a silver lining in this fare cloud? Maybe. Laura Lindsay, Global Travel Trends Expert at Skyscanner, told ConsumerAffairs that one of her cost-cutting go-to’s is to “mix and match” fares.

“Fares don’t have to be booked as returns, look at flying out with one airline and back with another or out of one airport and back into another,” she said. “Comparing and contrasting dates, providers, departure airports and destinations will enable you to find the best deal available for your needs.”

Hitting the road?

Renting a car vs. driving your own – a good thing or bad thing? The Hopper researchers say that road trippers will see price relief this summer with average rental car rates in the U.S. down 21% from last year, averaging $38 per day. 

As far as driving your own car, you might want to consider seeing who in the group has the vehicle that’ll get you the lowest overall cost. One great place to do that comparison is with the government's Fuel Economy Trip Calculator. When ConsumerAffairs did a sample trip from Cleveland to Charleston, S.C., using four different vehicles, the trip fuel costs ran like this:

  • $88.87 for a 2019 KIA Soul

  • $103.60 for a ​​2020 Honda Odyssey

  • $69.46 for a 2017 Hyundai Elantra

  • $118.06 for a 2023 Chrysler Pacifica

Finding a cheap room near impossible? Maybe not.

Hotel prices in the U.S. are currently averaging $216 per night, up 29% compared to April 2022. On the surface, that’s not going to make anyone jump for joy, but there are a couple of ways around that.

One travel advisor shared an angle with ConsumerAffairs that travelers might not have thought of when it comes to hotels – choose an accommodation that already includes at least some meals.

“While many hotels offer breakfast included in the total price, all-inclusive hotels and resorts will include all meals,” Mercedes Zach, travel expert at Asaptickets, suggests. “It might seem like a more expensive choice at first, but if you combine all the daily meals together, this option will help you save quite a lot of money at the end of your trip.”

Another hotel money-saving trip suggested by Leslie Carbone, a travel blogger at Sancerres at Sunset, is to stay at casino hotels.

“You can many times find very nice rooms at low cost or even comped. And that's not just for high rollers; you can often get great rates just for using the casino company's branded credit card,” she said. “And those typically don't have annual fees, unlike most hotel-branded cards. They also can mean higher status, which comes with discounts on items from souvenirs to show tickets.”

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