How to travel better, smarter and cheaper in 2023 | Trip

Some travel tips are ageless. Go out of season when you can, mid-week if possible. Be prepared to take red-eye flights. Do not order room service. Use public transport.

The tips below are different. It is fitting for this strange time in history, with rampant inflation and a faltering pandemic recovery unpredictably, as most airlines, hotels and car rental companies are charging more than before 2020. There has thrills and insights waiting for travelers there, and we could use them. Here are some ideas for better, easier and cheaper travel in the coming year.

1. Take a ferry

Really, just about any ferry. The prices are usually ridiculously low, and in exchange you get the thrill of being on the water and the novelty of a new view of the skyline. Even if you’re prone to seasickness, most of them are quick and easy rides that probably won’t upset your stomach.

In San Diego, the ride between downtown and Coronado is $7 (free bikes). In San Francisco, it’s $13.50 to $14 one way to Sausalito, Tiburon, Angel Island or Larkspur; or $4.50 to $5.75 each way between the Embarcadero and Oakland. In Newport Beach, it’s $2.50 per car (and $1.50 per adult passenger) or $1.50 per pedestrian each way between Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island. Length of trip: approximately 800 feet.

Even for the 20+ mile trip from Long Beach (or San Pedro) to Catalina Island, the tab is a relatively modest $83.50 round trip, and you have a good chance of spotting dolphins. . For this one, you might want Dramamine or Bonine, though.

2. Consider Avelo Airlines for Flights to Western Airports Other Carriers Skip

The carrier made its first flights in April 2021. From Burbank, Avelo flies directly to Sonoma/Santa Rosa and Eureka/Arcata; Medford/Rogue Valley, Eugene and Bend in Oregon; Boise in Idaho; and Paso/Tri-Cities in Washington. Like Southwest, Avelo only uses 737s. Be aware, however, that Avelo plays the nickel and dime game. Beyond the base price you see first, you should expect an additional $40-$50 charge for a second carry-on bag; $40 to $50 per checked bag; and $11 or more to select your seat. Still, its destinations and prices could save you time or money or both.

3. Before booking a flight, consider the cost of the rental car at the other end

Rental car prices skyrocketed in the first year of the pandemic, and they are still much higher than they were in 2019. Between July 2019 and July 2022, the price index at consumption from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that car rental prices rose 48%. (Over the same period, hotel prices increased by 7% and air fares by 16%).

Depending on how gas prices behave, you may want to drive instead of fly to Las Vegas or the Bay Area or points further afield. If you’re flying, you can still avoid car rental costs by using public transit or carpooling to cover distances you can’t walk or bike.

4. Don’t compare Airbnbs until you find the bottom line

At an Airbnb home in the Bay Area that my family just booked for Thanksgiving, the base price was $487 per night. At the time cleaning and service fees and taxes were added, the tab was $664 per night.

Since almost every turnover from Airbnb guests requires maintenance and cleaning, it would seem more honest to combine these numbers into one overall rate. But for years, Airbnb and its hosts have resisted this while earning revenue.

Now things are looking up a bit. Customer complaints increased so much that on December 1, the website began allowing customers to turn on a digital “switch” so that while browsing they could see prices including all fees (excluding taxes ). It’s what European Union consumer protection laws have required since 2018, so it’s nice for American consumers to catch up.

5. Congratulations, you are in a national park. Now get off the road.

For years, park rangers have lamented that few travelers stray more than a few hundred yards from the road, even in places like Yosemite Valley and Joshua Tree, where flat trails lead to incredible views. . Now, a group of cartography students from the University of Wisconsin at Madison have completed the data. By analyzing geotagged photos of national parks on Flickr, they found that 86% of photos were taken within a mile of the nearest road. For a deeper natural experience, set the tarmac a mile or more behind you (and don’t forget to bring plenty of water).

This will be doubly true in Yosemite this summer. For the first time since 2019, the park will not require advance reservations for peak-hour visits in the summer, which can lead to heavy traffic in Yosemite Valley. You can limit that hassle by aiming for trails and attractions in other areas of the park, like Wawona and Tuolumne Meadows — and getting to the entrance early.

6. Beware of hotel resort fees and talk about them

Hotels don’t charge cleaning fees like vacation homes do, at least not yet. But many hotels fill their bills with “resort fees,” which are basically mandatory. This allows hotels to claim a deceptively low base price in order to attract more web searchers, then hit them with an additional $20-$50 per night. This is particularly the case in Las Vegas, Hawaii, Palm Springs, Anaheim and San Diego, as shown by the ResortFeeTracker site.

How to fix this? On October 26, President Joe Biden said the Federal Trade Commission had begun work on a rule to reduce these kinds of misleading fees. Again, federal officials have already talked about it to no avail.

For now we are alone. Always check a hotel’s fine print (or call and ask the office) for their resort fees. And whenever there is an inquiry or a chance to go to the front desk staff, tell the hotel employees what you think of these charges.

7. Bargain hunters should think twice about San Diego and consider San Francisco

In the first 10 months of 2022, the average hotel rate in San Diego rose to around $207 per night, from $171 in 2019. According to analysis by industry analyst STR, this puts hotel rates in San Diego Diego among the fastest growing in the United States.

In the San Francisco/San Mateo area, meanwhile, average fares rose from $252 to $215 over the same time. Demand for tickets to Alcatraz, the former prison island that has been one of the city’s most popular family attractions for decades, has also plummeted. In years past, Alcatraz tours (which include a ferry ride) have sold out months in advance. Now the availability is much greater, so you might even be able to see the island on short notice.

8. For a cheap hotel in New York, check out Pauline

It would be Pauline Frommer from, who lives in Manhattan and makes a point of checking out the city’s cheap hotels herself. It’s hard work — the average daily rate in Manhattan topped $300 over the summer, and she’s on the hunt for rates below that. But he’s the bargain hunter whose father, Arthur, wrote the original “5 Dollars a Day Europe” in 1957. Here’s his latest appraisal. For a more comprehensive treatment of New York (wanted after the shutdowns), there’s Frommer’s Guide (about $20).

9. Time for Europe? Americans can eat and buy cheaper now because the dollar is stronger

Yes, we have inflation. But others have it worse. In mid-November, the dollar was about 13% stronger against the euro than it was a year ago. Against the British pound, it is about 15% stronger. As Forbes noted in an October article, airline tickets and hotel rooms are often insulated from these fluctuations. The difference in purchasing power is more likely to show up in restaurant prices and retail prices.

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