As children grab their backpacks to get ready to head back to school, you may want to grab your luggage: It’s a great time to look for a travel deal. Money expert Clark Howard says if you book at the right time, you can really save some money.
“The second wave of summer travel is upon us,” Clark says. “I’m noticing that things like hotels for later this year, including later this summer, the prices are dropping.”
When Should I Book a Trip for Fall Travel?
Clark says you should look to book a trip now to take advantage of fall travel deals. He says that airfare typically drops after August 15, so beyond that date is where you should look to travel for a fall trip.
“If you look at the cost of travel for earlier in the summer through the Memorial Day holiday till now, gosh, it’s shocking how expensive things have been,” he says. “But if you look a month from now, mid-August and later, prices are so much better. I’ve seen the trend and it’s your and my friend,” he says.
When it comes to cruises, Clark says you’ll see the best deals after the kids go back to school. September is a “fantastic” month to find a cruise deal, he says.
“If you and your girlfriend don’t have kids, use the school calendar to your advantage when booking a cruise,” Clark says. “Summer is very expensive. Why? Kids are out of school.”
When booking a cruise, Clark says to remember:
- There’s only one way to pay for a cruise.
- Peruse a site like CruiseCritic.com to find last-minute cruise deals.
- Resist cruise brand loyalty: Explore the cruise lines with the best prices.
When it comes to finding cheap flights, Clark employs several online tools:
- Go to Google.com/flights and plug in the specific dates you’re interested in. Enable Google Flight to track fares.
- Sign up for travel alerts from Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), which will send you the latest fares via email.
- Use Kayak.com/explore to see a map of the globe and what destinations are on sale.
“The key rule when you want to save money is you find a deal and then figure out why you want to go there, instead of picking a date and a destination and saying, ‘What’s the cheapest fare there?’”
Clark says if you’re interested in traveling later this year, look to book in the fall.
“The deals are not going to be true bargains, but much better than the brutal prices you’ve been seeing — especially in the fall,” he says. “I’ve booked some incredibly cheap airfares recently. So there are opportunities for you to save and get back in the travel mode.”
Want more money-saving advice? Read Clark’s guide on how to plan a trip.