How to save on summer travel? Try the flexible trick

Life is full of compromises, and that’s never more true than when you’re traveling this summer.

Expect Crowded Flights

Just before Memorial Day, the Transportation Security Administration set a new record for the most air travelers screened, checking nearly 3 million passengers on May 24. This surpassed the previous record set last Thanksgiving. U.S. airlines project a record summer, expecting to fly 271 million passengers in June, July, and August, a 6% increase from last summer.

Prepare for Busy Roads

GasBuddy’s latest summer travel survey predicts 76% of Americans plan to take a road trip between Memorial Day and Labor Day, an 18% increase from last summer.

Anticipate Full Hotels

Hotel occupancy is expected to rise to 63.4%, the highest level since 2019, according to the consulting firm HVS.

Flexibility is Key

With peak season prices, crowds, and potential delays, maintaining a flexible itinerary is crucial. “Your itinerary should be in pencil — not pen,” advises Bill Smith, CEO of Landing, a company offering flexible rentals. Being flexible can help minimize travel costs while maximizing your adventure.

Strategies for Flexibility

Becoming a more flexible traveler involves both planning and adopting a flexible mindset. Here are some strategies:

  1. Fly to Alternate Cities If your destination is too popular and expensive, consider nearby alternatives. Phil Strazzulla, who runs a software review company, found flying to Zürich instead of Milan saved over $300 per ticket and offered a scenic drive.
  2. Explore Off the Beaten Path Consider less popular destinations. Lynna Goldsby, a cruise planner, suggests destinations like Puglia instead of Rome, or Normandy instead of London, which can reduce expenses while satisfying your travel desires.
  3. Take Advantage of Stopover Programs Some airlines offer stopover programs allowing you to explore additional cities at no extra cost. Linda Robert, a travel coach, recommends using programs from airlines like Icelandair, Qatar Airways, and Copa for enriching and cost-effective travel experiences.

Tools for Flexibility

Several tools can help increase your travel flexibility:

  • Landing’s 12-Month Flex Stay Program: Offers renters the ability to save up to 30% on monthly rates by committing to a year with Landing, which has locations in over 375 cities.
  • Airbnb’s Flexible Dates Search: Allows you to select a period rather than specific dates, potentially saving up to 20% on accommodations.
  • Flexible Search Options: Most travel sites, like Google Flights and Kayak, offer flexible date search features, which can help you find better deals. Consider flexible regions as well as dates.

Tips for a Flexible Itinerary

To maximize your travel flexibility and enjoyment:

  1. Build White Space into Your Schedule Leave blank spaces in your itinerary for rest or unexpected opportunities. Stephanie Chastain, owner of Infinite Ireland Travel, suggests incorporating downtime to prevent vacation burnout.
  2. Think Differently About Travel Consider alternate routes or modes of transport. For example, taking a ferry from Anguilla to St. Martin can save significant costs on flights.
  3. Lower Your Expectations Veteran travel advisor Susan Sherren advises lowering your expectations to stay flexible. Unforeseen events are likely, and being adaptable can lead to a more enjoyable trip.


While being flexible is essential, don’t compromise too much. Prioritize key experiences but remain open to alternatives. Smart flexibility can help you save money, avoid stress, and make the most of your travel adventures.

Back to top button