In many parts of the country, parents are planning their kids’ spring breaks, while other Americans — housebound thanks to snowdrifts and sub-zero temps — will be scouring the internet for last-minute trips to sandy beaches and remote islands.

If you’re seeking spring travel savings, using these strategies and credit card perks— from planning beforehand to while you’re on the road — can help offset the cost of travel, which is expected to grow 3.5% in 2018.

Choosing Your Destination

When you’re looking for savings, start by looking for the right destination. While your mind may instantly go to the popular spring break spots and tourist traps, do a little extra digging to find similar locales that won’t break the bank.

Dying to go to Mexico this spring? That doesn’t have to mean you have to join the crowds in Cancun, one of the most in-demand destinations for spring breakers. By choosing a less popular alternative like Playa del Carmen, for instance, you can not only enjoy thinner crowds but also save on accommodations and activities.

As always, it pays to do a little extra research. Sink some extra time into finding a similar experience — just without the household name — and you can enjoy big spring travel savings while still enjoying a great vacation

Let Everyday Purchases Pay For Your Trip

Using cards that give extra points or rewards for dollars spent on lodging and other purchases can help defray the cost of travel with the click of the “purchase” button.

That’s because, depending on the card, you can accrue points to put toward your springtime stay with purchases made throughout the year. Or, you can use your card while traveling, to pay for everything from your room to meals to spa services and amenities, and get a certain amount of cash back, depending on the terms offered.

With the Discover it® Miles card, for example, earn 1.5 Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases made on the card and the Miles never expire.* And Discover offers a variety of cash back cards, depending on your spending habits.

Booking Your Travel

It’s just the same when you’re booking your spring travel. Flexibility and the right planning both go a long way when trying to find savings. For starters, you should avoid waiting until the last minute to book everything from flights to excursions. According to a report from the Airlines Reporting Corporation, you should book airfare at least thirty days in advance to enjoy the most spring travel savings.

On top of this, you can also save by booking your trip for the right dates. While you may be tempted to maximize your time away and leave at the beginning of a weekend, you can save with a little flexibility. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are the cheapest days to fly domestically, while international jaunts are best started on a weekday.

Whether you’re looking to take in a spa day or take in the sights while snorkeling, you can also save big while booking events and activities by doing so ahead of time. Keep an eye on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial and snap up the best deals before they’re gone.

The savings don’t have to stop there, though. The right credit card perks can help you save even after your bags are packed.

The cost of travel is expected to grow 3.5% in 2018.

At the Airport

Today, it can feel as if airlines and airports, both big and small, are squeezing every penny from travelers, with add-ons for baggage and lounge use and charges for itinerary changes that can run up the price of a ticket into the hundreds of dollars. It doesn’t have to be that way if you have a credit card with perks that let you avoid all that.

Read the fine print and you may find that you have an airline credit card that offers you the ability to check your bags, free of charge. Some cards allow just the cardholder to check a free bag, while others grant this perk to several more accompanying travelers. For frequent fliers, or large families traveling together on a spring vacation, these perks may outweigh other rewards and translate into more spring travel savings.

Not all credit cards offer these benefits, so check with your individual card issuer for details.

On the Road

A host of perks may be available to those traveling abroad or on a road trip.

Take waived transaction fees. These cards, including those from Discover, allow you to use your card overseas without worrying about transaction fees, which is a charge — often 2-3% — to convert foreign currency into dollars.

Those who travel by car would be wise to use cash back bonus cards for dollars spent at the gas station when it’s time to fill up. That’s especially true if used during specific windows of time, when card issuers may raise the reward beyond the standard you may be used to during the rest of the year.

Finally, check your agreement for rental car insurance. Many cards offer differing levels of collision and theft protection, which, depending on your appetite for risk, could allow you to forgo it at the rental counter.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to a host of spring travel savings.

Discover it® Miles Card


Earn Unlimited 1.5x Miles on Every Purchase.

*Miles Never Expire: We will credit your account with your rewards balance if your account is closed or has not been used in 18 months.

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