Prepare for a turbulent travel season – the Transportation Security Administration predicts that more passengers will be boarding flights this summer than in 2019. On June 30, the TSA recorded the highest number of passengers the agency has screened on record: 2,883,595 travelers. In other words, demand is high and airfares will be following suit.
But don’t let the numbers dissuade you! You can still have a successful summer full of travel if you are strategic, especially when it comes to your credit cards.
Leverage credit card rewards
Take advantage of credit cards with travel rewards to offset price increases with various perks and discounts. Sign-up bonuses can offer points or miles that can be redeemed for free or discounted flights. Rewards earned for everyday spending accumulate over time and can be used to offset the cost of airfare. Airline-specific benefits provide perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and airport lounge access, reducing expenses and enhancing the travel experience.
Additionally, travel insurance included with some travel credit cards can provide coverage for trip cancellations, delays, and lost baggage, saving you from unexpected expenses. Discouraged because you have poor credit? Don’t be, you can compare the best travel credit cards for poor credit and see if there are interesting options that suit your needs and situation.
Understand your rights as a passenger
Your flight was delayed and you missed your connection. You got bumped. Your baggage got lost. These are common scenarios in congested airports. Protect yourself by understanding your rights as a passenger. Fly Rights is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s guide to consumer air travel covers what you need to know – for example, an airline has to compensate you if you get involuntarily bumped (and they would need to look for volunteers first).
Travel light and be flexible
Only packing a carry-on and booking hotels with flexible cancellation policies can greatly help you adapt during a busy travel season. By packing light, you can easily maneuver through airports, minimize the risk of lost luggage, and have greater flexibility in case of flight changes or rebookings. Having hotels with flexible cancellation policies allows you to adjust your accommodations if your flight is delayed or canceled, without incurring extra costs or penalties.
It’s going to be a bumpy travel season with a record number of passengers flooding airports. The steps above should help you get better deals and prevent travel nightmares.