Key advice for getting summer travel deals

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Key advice for getting summer travel deals
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Ready for a vacation this summer? Look for deals closer to home either within driving distance or by air, instead of looking for travel overseas.

European summer airfares have historically been between 2 and 2.5 times as costly as domestic fares. But this year, Europe is 4 to 8 times the cost of a trip in the United States!

When you’re talking domestic, with gas prices the way they are, flying for any distance longer than 750 miles can be cheaper than driving if you find a good discount fare. The major discounters have been offering sale after sale for summer travel. If fact, the last 2 rounds of airfare sales were cheaper than their predecessors, which means the airlines got some price resistance and had to lower fares.

It’s easy to get fixated on the cost of gas if you’re driving to your vacation destination. But gas is really just the smallest part of owning and operating a car. Far bigger are the costs of depreciation, maintenance, interest on a car loan and more.

Your car effectively costs you about 60 cents per mile to operate. So if you’re taking a road trip for a week or longer, you may want to consider renting a vehicle. Let somebody else suffers the costs of depreciation and maintenance, not you.

If you still insist on taking your own car, I think it’s important to realize that the total fuel expenses of a trip, now that gas is near $4/gallon, may only be $50 or $75 more than when gas was around $2.50 or so last summer — dependent on your vehicle’s gas mileage, of course.

So don’t use the cost of gas as a reason to not go somewhere, unless you’re absolutely broke. The pinch of gas prices can be offset by renting accommodations directly from the owners, rather than a traditional hotel. VRBO.com is one site where you can do this. You may save so much on accommodations that the bump in the cost of gas is inconsequential.

Finally, if you are looking to go abroad this summer, the deals to Asia and Hawaii have been much better than those to Europe or South America. My philosophy is to go where the deal is. Give it a try!

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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