'Look at offers, discounts you already have access.' Summer travel deals, steals and hacks

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Summer is upon us, which means peak travel season is nearly in full swing.

After spending the last two summers mostly grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's likely more Americans are finding themselves comfortable for traveling this summer.

Nick Ewen, director of content for ThePointsGuy.com says first thing you should consider doing is using a travel credit card.

"One of the easiest ways to save money when you're traveling this year is to actually look at offers and discounts that you already have access to," says Ewen. "This doesn't require any additional investment and a great option would be through your credit card offers."

Cards like Chase Saaphire, American Express, and even airline and hotel group credit cards can serve as a way to earn points and then use those points to purchase various forms of travel.

"I've booked probably four or five flights for free," said Marissa Fogal before her flight out of RDU Wednesday. "If you have points, you can put certain points toward your flight so it doesn't have to be covering the full flight."

Using this option allows travelers to pay a fraction of the flight using their credit card and the other amount by using credit card points. Different credit cards also offer varying options of trip cancellation and insurance coverage that could save you money in the long run if things go awry.

Additionally, geography plays a big role in airfare costs. Using sites like Skyscanner, Google Flights, Hopper, or Kayak, to name a few allow users to research when are the best times to fly and offer predictions as to if or when the airfare may fluctuate in price. These sites use trend data to make these predictions.

Jacksonsville, NC resident Matthew Batts drove two hours from his home to take a Raleigh to Seattle flight Wednesday afternoon. His decision netted him nearly $800 in savings versus using an airport close to his house. However, when he arrived at RDU, he learned his flight was canceled.

"So now we're in the position of we're 2 hours away from the house and what do we do," Batts asked. "Obviously our flight don't leave until tomorrow. So now we're waiting in line to kind of see what we can do. So there is some give and take to cheaper flights I would say."

It's not a perfect science, but it's worth it sometimes.

"There are still some deals to be out there," added Ewen. "Casting a wide net is one of the key things that I would recommend this busy summer travel season."

Ewen also suggests AutoSlash.com as a resource for booking car rentals. The site will alert you after you've made a car rental reservation if there is a cheaper price for the same category of a rental.
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