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Fuel & Flights: Travel Advice to Combat Inflation

It’s summer! It’s the season commonly known for road trips, flights to the coast, and the kids screaming “are we there yet!?”

In 2022, travel looks different than usual. Demand is high, making gas prices and plane ticket costs soar. That’s why Elements is here with trusted advice to help you combat inflation in the travel industry. From purchasing fuel for a road trip to securing tickets to fly to a family vacation, explore our best tips on saving a buck during challenging times:

Feeling Pressure at the Pump

As America recovers from a pandemic, the world watches the high-tension war in Ukraine, and travel demand hits record highs, everyone is noticing higher costs every time they fill their gas tanks. Over the past couple of years, remote and hybrid work environments caused major shifts in the need for transportation, directly impacting the economic shift in how oil was priced and distributed. Gas has increased to record high levels, yet experts are hopeful of a price decline coming in the fall. 

Saving at the Gas Station

If you’re planning a road trip, or even finding yourself commuting more often, planning will be heavily beneficial this summer. Here are some tips to save at the gas pump:

  • Consider Paying in Cash: Many gas stations allow customers to pay with cash to receive a reduced price per gallon. This could knock a few cents off your bill every time you fill up. Elements provides surcharge-free access to 78,000+ ATMs worldwide, so finding cash will be quick and complimentary.
  • Find the Right Time: Studies have indicated Mondays and Fridays tend to be the best day to fill your tank up, as prices tend to run lowest those days. While not always the case, gas is also known to be more affordable in the evenings.
  • Watch the Costs: If you notice prices decreasing, limit the amount of gas you put in the tank. Many people feel the urge to fill their tank every time they stop by to fuel up.
  • Review Apps and Club Pricing: Rewards apps, such as GasBuddy, can assist in finding the most affordable gas prices near you. Additionally, some clubs including Costco provide significantly discounted gas prices – but require membership. It’s important to evaluate the value of a membership before purchasing it only to get cheaper gas.
  • Make Friends with Your GPS: It can be your best friend when it comes to conserving fuel. Even if you’ve driven to a destination several times before, make use of options such as “most fuel efficient" routes or shortcuts that can get you to your destination using as little gas as possible. Use your GPS to compare gas station distances and the fastest routes to them.
  • Build a Budget: On trips, managing your finances appropriately will form a stress-free environment allowing you to relax and unwind. Set money aside for necessities such as food and lodging; then, estimate how much you’ll need to keep on hand for your fuel bill.
  • Avoid the Commute: If at any point you can request work in the comfort of your own home, you can eliminate costs for gas… plus you'll save on expenses that include going out for lunch. It’s worth noting that since the pandemic, various occupations have been more open to and comfortable with the idea of employees working from home.  

The Less Than Friendly Skies

Much like the price increase in consumer gas prices, jet fuel has also seen a large increase. This is also in relation to the pandemic and the impact it’s had on the oil industry. The pandemic has also contributed to the shortage of pilots – an issue that is now being seen on display as flights across the nation continue to get canceled. Between the cost of fuel and the shortage of pilots, flights are seeing a massive inflation rate from 2020. 

Overcoming Outlandish Ticket Prices

With summer vacation on many people’s minds, limiting air travel as a way of remaining cost-efficient in this economic shift may be disheartening. Here are our tips to find the best flight deals:

  • Skip the Direct Flight: Connecting through multiple locations may result in less money spent than a direct flight ticket. Though this technique could end up saving you money, you’re trading convenience for time. This is recommended for those with more flexibility in their airline travels.
  • Expand Your Dates: Every destination looks a little different, so it’s important to understand the flying patterns to get there. Experts suggest looking for departing flights and returning flights in a range of about 3 days before and 3 days after the dates you plan to travel since some destinations are cheaper to fly to on weekends while others are more affordable on weekdays.
  • Spend Time Searching: It’s highly suggested that you search as many airline sites as possible for the most affordable tickets. The more extensive your searching is, the more likely you are to find hidden deals. While Google Flights is a good resource to compare ticket prices, remember that all airlines don’t appear there. Don’t be afraid to check forums and blogs for suggestions, too!
  • Save on Snacks: Due to heavy airline security, it’s not always possible to bring personal food or beverages into the sky with you. Check into TSA guidelines for what types of snacks you can bring to avoid paying hefty fees for in-flight service or grab a meal before heading to the airport.
  • Consider Re-Booking: Never be afraid to outsmart the business itself. If you notice a drop in the price of your airline tickets after you bought yours, request a refund or cancellation of the ticket. Even if you’ve bought a ticket, keep your eyes open for cheaper and more accessible alternatives. Think about this method when deciding if your ticket should be refundable at the time of purchase!

Whether you’ve decided to drive or fly, planning and saving ahead are the keys to successful and cost-effective travel. Have questions or need trusted advice? Our credit union experts are always here for you. Contact Elements Financial for support in all aspects of your financial life.

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