According to AAA, Memorial Day travel isprojected to increase 1.5 percent as lower gas prices and lodging deals woo recession-weary consumers. Gabe Saglie, senior editor for TravelZoo, says that beyond lower prices at the pump there are three big ways for regular people to save on that much-needed vacation to kick off the summer:
Airfare. Airlines have cut ticket prices to unprecedented levels, Saglie says. Why? Two reasons. Fuel prices are still 50 percent below last year’s levels, so airlines can pass those savings onto the consumer. Additionally, legacy airlines and low-cost carriers are fighting tooth-and-nail to fill seats and more competition means better prices for you.
New York to San Francisco roundtrip: Last year, this route cost easily well over $400 during Memorial Day. This year, you can fly for $239 including taxes and fees on American or Delta.
Boston to Miami roundtrip: Fly for $450 on American versus $673 on low-cost AirTran. This fare exemplifies that the “airfare wars are on,” Saglie says.
Hotels. Occupancy rates are 10 percent below last year’s levels thanks to the recession and less corporate and leisure travel. The need to fill rooms translates to lower rates.
San Francisco’s 4-Star Hotel Triton: $99 per night for Memorial Day, compared to $200 last year.
Miami’s 4-Star Royal Palm Hotel: Stay beachfront on Collins Ave. for $129 per night, compared to $250 per night last year.
Freebies. Hotels can only cut prices so low, but they can increase the value of your stay by sweetening the deal with various freebies like complimentary meals, waived resort fees, substantial discounts for spa services and more. Amusement parks like Disneyland are offering ‘twofer’ deals that let visitors come back within 30 days and stay for free.