5 Travel Hacks for Saving on Summer Vacations

Want to save on your summer travel? RelayRides blogger Eric Rosenberg shares his travel hacking and saving expertise for your next vacation.

Summer travel season is in full swing, and Americans are busy visiting friends, family, new cities, and enjoying new adventures all over the world. While you are busy traveling, don’t get caught with your wallet open. Follow these tips and tricks to save your hard earned cash when you’re traveling, or hanging around home, this summer.

Plane Tickets

Plane tickets can be expensive. However, as the fastest and easiest way to travel long distances, it often can’t be avoided for short trips or longer journeys across the country. If you’re going to fly, use these tips to help cut the cost:

  • Search Around – Sites like Kayak will search many airlines at once, and don’t forget to go directly to the websites of discount airlines like Southwest. Often times giving up airline loyalty and picking the cheapest option will save you hundreds of dollars each trip.
  • Time Your Purchase – Tickets are usually cheapest about 4-8 weeks ahead of your trip date, and Tuesday is usually the cheapest day of the week to buy.

If you want to put in serious effort, travel hackers like me collect miles and points from different credit card offers and use those miles to fly cheap, or free. I just booked two flights from PDX-LAX for two for $20 and 13,000 Southwest miles.

Learn more about travel hacking from The Points Guy and the Frequent Miler, or check out my story of a recent trip to Israel for $140 round trip.


Just like with airlines, searching around can save you big money on hotels. Flexibility on location and dates is one of the best ways to save. I always start my search at Hotels.com, but sites like Kayak and Priceline have lots of great deals too.

Also, don’t forget to look for the best rate available. Search for regular rates, AAA rates, AARP rates, and any other discounts available. Even if you are not on a company trip, many companies have discount codes that you can enter when booking your hotel to save extra cash.

And, like with airlines, there are plenty of travel hacking options to earn loads of hotel points that can make your next stay free, or a lot cheaper.

A New Car

If you are planning a road trip, you might be thinking about getting a new car to make your travels a little more comfortable. New cars are one of the most expensive purchases we ever make after buying a home, so savings here can add up to a big win fast. Be sure to shop around for the best deals and don’t be afraid to negotiate to get the best price you can.

The best way to save is to skip the new car lot and go for a used one instead. New cars lose value quickly, but a quality used car can be a great option to save big bucks. Also be sure to check sites like Kelly’s Blue Book to know what the car should really cost.

You could also just try to make your car live a little longer. Check out this advice from Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich (contains NSFW language)

Gas and Repairs

Cars can be expensive to own if you don’t take care of them, so be sure to keep up on your scheduled maintenance so your car runs great for many years. Don’t forget regular oil changes. Be sure to check your manual for how often to change, don’t just go by the sticker in your car. You can usually change your oil every 5,000 miles, not the 2,000 or 3,000 that the oil change shops suggest.

To help offset the cost of maintaining your car, check out RelayRides. The average member who rents out their car brings in $250 per month, which is plenty to cover most maintenance costs plus a lot more.

Car Rentals

Renting a car from the traditional car companies isn’t any fun. My last experience with a big rental company involved a long wait, a longer line, and a lot of money for only a couple of days use. Instead, check out RelayRides.

Renting with RelayRides saves you big money over the rental companies at the airport, and you can choose from tons of options for cars in almost every city. Just hop on RelayRides and search for your next destination. The great cars you will find may surprise you.