With gas prices and flight prices skyrocketing, it can be tricky to travel on budget (Unsplash).

With gas prices and flight prices skyrocketing, it can be tricky to travel on budget (Unsplash).

Travel on a budget: Tips, tools to find the most cost-effective options for road trips, flying

KAYAK’s new Travel Tool helps travellers decide to fly or drive to their vacation destinations

As pandemic restrictions wind down, many British Columbians appear to have been bitten by the travel bug and are eager to leave home this summer.

However, with gas prices and flight demands skyrocketing, finding the most cost-effective way to make the most of a vacation may be tricky.

According to travel agency KAYAK, summer flight prices are up 31 per cent overall. Domestic flight prices are up 20 per cent, and international travel up 17 per cent.

For those looking to hit the road instead of the sky, prices are also only increasing – domestic rental car prices are up 111 per cent and international rental car prices up 17 per cent.

To help travellers make the best decisions, KAYAK has released a trip calculator, which gathers data on flying and driving options based on trip details and dates.

A new BCAA survey released in June found that, despite having some of the highest gas prices in the country, British Columbians still plan to take road trips this summer – but are adjusting their plans.

While 77 per cent of British Columbians say that the high price of gas makes road trips ‘too expensive’ this year, a large majority (69 per cent) still plan a vacation road trip.

“All those things we love to do – take the scenic route, go a little further to see what’s on the other side of the lake – may have to wait until gas prices go down. It looks like this could be a year when many of us decide to drive directly to our destination and simply stay there,” said Josh Smythe, BCAA Automotive Manager.

Tips from BCAA include:

  • Route-plan for a shorter drive: Plan the most direct route possible. Use GPS, maps, whatever it takes to avoid getting off track. When choosing a vacation spot, consider one that’s closer to activities, where you can park up and walk to explore.
  • Vacation-mode driving: When planning routes, look for ways to get there that don’t require as many stops and starts. Save gas by slowing down, driving smoothly at steady speeds within the speed limit and avoiding jackrabbit starts and hard braking. “Drive chill, like you’ve already had a vacation,” Smythe suggests.
  • Climate control: Air conditioning uses power from the engine that consumes fuel. To save gas, Smythe recommends trying the simple choice first: open windows a few inches for air flow before pushing the AC button.
  • Lighten your load: Carrying excess weight wastes gas, so pack light and clean out the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments. For necessities, pay attention to how they’re arranged and distribute the weight evenly. Remove your roof rack/box when you don’t use it to reduce wind resistance. If you can rent equipment at your destination, this might be the year for it as towing trailers for recreational vehicles are hard on fuel economy.
  • Fueling up: A full tank of gas may add weight, but it’s not worth driving with less as you’ll waste fuel searching for a gas station. Also, resist the urge to use cheaper fuels not recommended for your vehicles to save money. In the long term you will pay more for repairs.
  • Tune up before you head out: A well-tuned vehicle with properly inflated tires improves fuel economy. Tires can change pressure depending on weather, so for the best fuel economy, Smythe recommends that each time you fill up your tank, check your tire pressures are at the manufacturer’s recommended level.

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