4/20/2022 | By Jackie Stewart

Two long years of pandemic isolation coupled with lower infection rates and vaccinations may have given you a real itch to travel. But inflation – including airfare – may make your budget wary of venturing far from home. Follow these tips for trimming travel costs from the folks at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and start planning your next trip!

If it’s been some time since you’ve taken a vacation, you might find that travel has gotten more expensive. But with careful planning and strategic choices, you can ensure that trip costs are more reasonable.

5 tips for trimming travel costs

Look beyond hotels

Happy couple on a trip taking a selfie on a hike. Photo by Tom Wang, Dreamstime. People are ready to travel again, but inflation has replaced Covid concerns. Follow these budget tips for trimming travel costs and plan your trip.

With the rise of vacation rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO, travelers can now easily forego traditional hotels and find wonderful condos, apartments, houses or even just a room to rent. Staying in a rental is sometimes cheaper.

Or consider a hostel, which aren’t just for students backpacking through Europe. Many hostels offer private rooms with a bathroom – not just shared dorm rooms – at budget-pleasing prices.

Land a house-sitting gig

Travelers staying in one location for a longer period can save a bundle being a house sitter. In exchange for house sitting and perhaps caring for a pet, you stay in the house for free.

Retirees are often preferred as house sitters because they’re generally experienced homeowners. “You know there are electrical breakers in the house. You know that when it gets cold the pipes will freeze,” says Janice Waugh, founder of Solo Traveler. connects travelers with house-sitting gigs.

Leverage your memberships

Your gym, alumni group or other organizations you belong to may provide you with discounts, Waugh says. For example, AAA members get discounts for hotel stays, flights, cruises and car rentals. The nonprofit also offers exclusive travel packages to members. AARP’s $16 per year membership gets you discounts on car rentals, cruises, and hotel stays – quite the budget investment.

More tips for trimming travel costs: Kiplinger on snagging a lower airfare

Don’t rent a car for your trip

As tempting as it is to hop in the car rental line and peel out with your own set of wheels, that’s a costly mistake with rental cars currently in short supply. You may be better off exploring a city on foot or by bike. Many countries also have wonderful public transportation systems that are easy to navigate.

If you decide to rent a car, sign up for, which tracks your car rental and alerts you if a better deal is available.

Related: What to expect if you fly this summer

Avoid unnecessary fees

Some credit cards charge foreign transactions fees, typically around 3% of every purchase made outside the United States. If your card charges such a fee, switch to one that doesn’t. For instance, Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa and the Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa have no foreign transaction fees, though the Chase card does charge $95 annually.

You could also be hit with different fees using an ATM abroad, including one from the foreign bank that owns the machine. Meanwhile, your bank back home can charge a foreign ATM withdrawal fee of up to $5 as well as a foreign ATM transaction fee, usually about 3% of the transaction, to cover any currency conversion costs. Ask your bank what it charges and if you can avoid those fees. Some financial institutions may waive or reimburse you for at least part of these costs depending on the type of account you have.

© 2022 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Retirement Report. For more on this and similar money topics, visit