Hey Out Travel the System fam – we’re not slouching on our mission to be your travel besties even while we’re on hiatus between Season Three and Season Four!

In this episode, we are bringing you deep data right from the vaults of Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation, an industry leader in air travel intelligence. These are our very best travel tips, tricks, and hacks.

Listen in as host Nisreene Atassi takes you through everything you need to know to maximize your travel experiences, including:

-what days to book your flights, and what days to travel on

-why what month you travel in can make a big dent in your travel budget

-why upgrading your seat may be less of a splurge than you think

-what ‘downstarring’ means, and how it can help you save big on accommodations

-what not to skimp on, especially when it comes to peace of mind

If you’re looking for inspiration for good ways to splurge a bit with all of your well-researched savings, check out this past episode of Out Travel the System.

We also have some international inspiration here, with past episodes to specific destinations:

France

Spain

Australia

Japan

We want to make sure you can research and plan your travels with confidence, so make sure to make time to check out these handy guides assembled by Expedia:

COVID-19 Travel Advisory tool

Expedia COVID-19 Travel Guide


Expedia Travel Podcast


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Nisreene Atassi: It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And I know what you’re thinking, but no, it’s not because the holidays are right around the corner. It’s because it’s the time when I get to finally share the ultimate booking hacks to help you plan your next year of travel. I’m Nisreene Atassi and this is Out Travel The System. Longtime listeners know this already, but just in case you’re new to the show, every year Expedia releases a report, revealing key travel hacks. For the year ahead. We work on this research with the airlines reporting corporation and industry leader and air travel intelligence. We pull together their data along with ours and a very detailed survey to get deep insights on travel. And then, in the spirit of being your ultimate travel companion, we deliver all of this information right to you. So let’s go ahead and start with flights.

Average ticket prices were at their lowest in the last 12 months during December 2020 and January 2021. We are still seeing some savings on international flights compared to 2019, but on average, ticket prices have been steadily rising and are almost back to pre- pandemic levels. Your best way to get some savings is by being smart in how and when you book your flights. For domestic flights, and by this we mean flights within the United States, the prices start to increase 21 days before your departure. So, that means you’re going to want to buy plane ticket between 28 to 35 days in advance. The ideal day of the week to book a domestic flight is on a Sunday. This can save you around 5%. The ideal day of the week to start your domestic trip is going to be on a Friday. That can save you around 15%. consider taking both of these savings and doing a little bit of a splurge.

We talked about good ways to splurge in a previous episode. So we’ll link to that in the show notes. Let me just also quickly recap that before we shift to international flights. For domestic trips, you want to book at least 28 to 35 days out, and you want to make sure that you make that booking on a Sunday. Look to also start your trip on a Friday. So now on the international front, you’re going to want to book your flight three to four months in advance to get the lowest prices. That’s tough, I know, but that’s really what the data’s telling us. That reminds me, we’re going to link to some of our favorite deep dive episodes on international destinations like France, Spain and Australia in the show notes so that you can get some really great travel inspiration there. The ideal day to book your flight is also going to be on a Sunday.

But what you’re looking for here is to travel starting on the Thursday as opposed to the Friday, which I mentioned for domestic travel. That on average can create savings of more than 5%, which on an international trip can be quite substantial. To recap for international, you want to book your flight three to four months in advance and also make sure that you do your booking on a Sunday. That’s going to get you some of the best prices. In terms of when you want to start your trip, look to depart on a Thursday as opposed to a Friday. If you can’t find travel that fits into these exact parameters, don’t worry, here’s a rule of thumb that works. It’s generally cheaper to start your trip in the back half of the week, so a Wednesday through a Saturday than the front half, so a Sunday to a Tuesday. Okay, I’m not done yet.

We’re going to talk about what month to travel in right after this.

You’re listening to Out Travel The System. I’m Nisreene Atassi. It can seem really confusing to consider travel right now. What should I book? Where should I go? How am I going to get the most out of my trip? Well, look no further than this show. In every episode, we’re thinking about how to keep you inspired and informed about travel. You can catch up on back episodes featuring people who have traveled to almost every country in the world and experienced almost everything under the sun, as well as interviews with guests like Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenny and Rashida Jones about what they love the most about travel. And make sure you stay tuned as we plan out season four so like and subscribe now on your favorite podcast player.

Nisreene Atassi: All right. We are back on Out Travel The System, and I’m talking about the ultimate travel tips and tricks for 2022.

If you’re willing to be flexible with what month you’re going in, and to be honest, maybe accept a few trade offs, you can definitely unlock some huge savings. For example, if you’re willing to travel domestically in January, you can save more than 10% compared to traveling in June. Most people did their holiday travel probably in December or they were taking a summer break in June. January’s not a super popular time to travel so it’s naturally going to be a little bit cheaper than some of these other months. When we’re talking internationally, traveling in August can save you almost 20% compared to traveling in December. Again, the key here is to really think about seasonality. School breaks, major public holidays. Those are all a big factor in determining what’s going to yield different pricing. And if you want a suggestion on where to put those savings to enjoy your travel more, consider upgrading to a premium economy ticket.

The average pricing on that currently is actually lower than it was both last year and in 2019. So if you want a little bit extra leg room, consider that tiny little upgrade. Now, I know you might be saying, ” Nissy, this is all flight stuff, so what about accommodations?” Don’t worry. I’ve got that for you as well. The high demand for domestic travel, and again by this, we mean the United States, has actually pushed domestic lodging rates higher than they were in 2020 and 2019. That’s why I’m so glad I can put these two travel secrets right in your hands. The lowest average daily rate for accommodations tends to happen on Mondays. I know. Kind of annoying because we’re not typically traveling on Mondays, but including that on your stay can actually save you more than 15% compared to staying on a Friday, for example, which tends to be the most expensive day.

So if you’ve got some flexibility, those are some adjustments that can help yield some decent savings. For international trips, book and stay on a Tuesday compared to a Thursday. That can save you almost 10%. If your accommodations aren’t a key priority for you in travel, and by that, I mean you’re the type of person that just needs a place to lay their head, but you spend most of the day out and about, consider down starring to save. What I mean by that is, someone who typically likes to stay in a five- star property, consider going for a four- star property, which could save you 45% on average. Similarly, choosing a three- star instead of a four- star can save you around 30%. So really think about what are the most important things to you? What amenities do you really need and whether you can make a few trade offs, if budget is really an important factor for you right now?

Now I know I keep mentioning so savings, but there are times and places where spending a little bit more is going to be worth it. And it’s not just a splurge. It can actually give you peace of mind. There’s still some unpredictability with travel because of the pandemic, so booking a refundable lodging rate is really going to benefit you. Even if it’s going to be around 15% more than a non- refundable room, it’s going to give you that flexibility to change or cancel your trip without penalty, as long as you do it before the specified date. In my mind, that piece of mind is well worth the extra money. I do have a few more tips to keep your travel budget in check. So look for bundling wherever you can on Expedia. That’s been a tip that I’ve said repeatedly over the course of the last season, but I want to reiterate it here again, because it still really holds true. On average, US travelers can save up to 10% by booking your flight and accommodations in the same transaction instead of doing them separately.

Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for Expedia rewards that unlocks member only pricing and that lets you start collecting Expedia points that you can use for other savings down the road. And if you’re a silver or gold member who books an Expedia VIP access hotel, you may also get some perks, like a room upgrade or even a spa credit. And if you book through the Expedia app, not only can you unlock up to 10% savings with hotel deals that are exclusively on the app, you can also earn double the Expedia rewards points by booking on the app. So it really gives you lots of amazing benefits, not to mention travel alerts about your itinerary right there on your phone. We’re also going to drop a couple of really important links in the show notes. It’s going to be to Expedia’s COVID- 19 travel advisory tool, as well as our Expedia COVID- 19 travel guide.

We want to make sure you have all of the information you need so that you can travel with confidence. I know it seems like this is a ton of information, and some of these tips and tricks do actually contradict each other a little bit. I would encourage you to set aside a small chunk of time to really play around with your dates for flights and accommodations. It may be that the savings from one travel hack is higher than from another so keep an eye on the overall budget. This time, we’ll also let you research everything you need to know about your destination. And I promise you it will be time well spent that will definitely pay off. I’m looking forward to some downtime to research my own travels, including whether to head to some of the hottest destinations of 2022, and I’ll share those thoughts in the new year. Until then, happy travels.

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