School is out, summer travel season is near, and grads are planning big trips to commemorate a major life milestone. We know these trips can get pricey so our 2017 graduation guide is here to help these new travelers find the best deals on summer travel this year (Boston and London are just a couple of the more affordable options). Whether grads are looking to travel domestically or internationally, there are plenty of affordable destinations perfect for any budget-traveler. Hot tip: book travel within zero to seven days of your stay for maximum savings.
Summer: Where to Go
Locations with the biggest savings for summer 2017 travel
For travelers on a budget, these ten destinations are super affordable, offering Hot Rate® rooms with average savings of more than $100 a night* in select cities, if booked now.
- New Orleans
- Virginia Beach
- New York City
- San Francisco
*Savings based on average daily rates for weekend travel in May and June 2017.
Most popular locations for summer 2017
People seem to be more interested in traveling internationally in 2017 than last year with only two of the most popular destinations being in the US.**
- San Jose del Cabo
**Based on growth of travel demand from the US in April 2017 for travel to these destination in June 2017 compared to April 2016 demand for travel in June 2016.
Tips for grads traveling
- Create an itinerary to maximize your travel experience.
- Traveling can be expensive, so make sure to build out your budget before the trip.
- When choosing a destination, try and think of where your money will go the furthest. For example, heading to Southeast Asia may yield more adventures than the amount you will spend on tourist attractions in a large European city.
- Plan ahead. Do you need visas, an updated passport, medical shots?
- Someone should always know where you are when you are traveling. If traveling in a foreign country, register for free with the state department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and identify a contact for the US Embassy and those at home to easily get in touch with you.
- If you are travelling anywhere that uses a foreign language, try to pick up some essential phrases.
- If you are able to stay in just one or two places throughout your travel, you may be able to take advantage of long-term rental prices.
- Take advantage of the new culture around you—try a salsa class, learn to scuba dive, eat blow fish.
- Travel with purpose. Get a head start on your professional career and look for volunteer or internship opportunities abroad.
Tips on solo travel for grads
- Be social and try to make connections throughout your travel, starting on the plane ride. You will probably get great recommendations on food, lodging and activities.
- Embrace the experience of travelling alone. Bring along books you’ve been meaning to read, meditate and set your own agenda – this is your time!
- Do your research – learn local customs to help break down cultural barriers and avoid offending anyone.
- Do even more research – depending on what type of trip you are taking, learn about the area around you:
- If you’re going on a hiking trip, take a first aid and survival safety course.
- If you’re staying in a city, take the time to research parts of the city to make sure you will not be staying alone in a dangerous area.
- If you’re enjoying a rural destination, make sure there is transportation to and from your destination already arranged.
- Choose a contact person to leave your travel details with. The more information you can give them (flight times, contact numbers, destinations, etc.), the better. To be extra cautious, schedule a regular check-in with someone back home.
- Try a group tour to meet some fellow solo travelers.
- Be prepared for the instant street cred you’ll get upon your return back home.
Tips and tricks from Hotwire on how consumers can get the most value for their travel dollars
- When planning your trip, keep an open mind and focus on the type of vacation you want (beach, city, etc.), then search a variety of related locales to find the best deals.
- Check alternative airports if you’re flying into a busy metropolitan area (e.g. LaGuardia and Newark if you’re flying into New York City; Burbank and Long Beach if you’re flying to Los Angeles).
- Consider finding a cheaper airfare and then driving to your destination to save money.
- If you can handle waiting, you’ll often get the lowest rates if you delay and book a rental car or hotel room once you’ve landed in your destination. Use your Hotwire app for great Hot Rate deals.
- Once you have that car, fill it up yourself. Do not prepay for gas – it is almost never worth it.
- Most flights get delayed (or cancelled!) due to weather, and incoming planes being unable to land. Book your travel for early in the morning, and you’ll be less likely to have to deal with the headache of cancellations.
- Try to eat before boarding your flight to be less tempted by dehydrating salty snacks and sodas during the flight. Staying hydrated is a must for combatting fatigue and headaches – especially on long flights across multiple time zones.
- If you exercise regularly, try and stick with your routine. If not, just some easy walks can help you acclimate to new surroundings and time zones.
- Be polite. Flight crews work especially hard during busy travel times; being nice to your crew (and your fellow passengers) will always enhance your travel experience.
- Do your homework – Try to spend a little time before you travel familiarizing yourself with your travel plans and airports you’ll be traveling to. If you know you need to make a connection in Dallas, take some time to review the terminal maps to try and ease anxiety and frustration that can sometimes come with travel.
- And while we’re on the topic of easing travel woes…just remember that with travel (and in life!), it’s important to be flexible and embrace the unexpected – you can get a great experience in so many different ways.