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Two years after the pandemic interrupted many people’s vacation plans, travelers are seeking new experiences and exciting destinations this summer. But there has been another major roadblock in our return to normalcy: prices at the gas pump, skyrocketing airfares and inflationary pressures affecting hotels and resorts.

However, these rising costs do not mean a death sentence for travel plans. In fact, hitting the road, sky or sea will cost-effectively help combat price increases – allowing travelers to get their island vacation while helping the economy recover here and abroad.

How? The tourism and travel industry is an important economic driver. Before the pandemic, the total economic output generated by this industry in the United States was more than $1 trillion and was supported by 9.5 million tourism-related jobs.

These expenses affect not only airlines and hospitality groups, but also shops, restaurants and attractions. Thousands of families supported by travel and tourism count on this discretionary spending, which distributes funds between businesses and governments at even the most local levels.

The tourism industry is doing its part to encourage domestic and international tourism by providing consumers with a huge marketplace. Through the use of metasearch platforms, online travel agencies and short-term rental websites, consumers can see all their choices in one place. This pushes airlines, hotels, car rental companies and short-term rental operators to compete for the best prices, services and offers.

These transparent online arenas are essential to combat the effects of runaway prices. With the ability to comparison shop, consumers ultimately drive prices down. This gives them the ability to choose travel options that maximize value while minimizing costs. And the less travelers spend on transport and accommodation, the more money they can spend on destination businesses.

Aside from using online marketplaces—Expedia, Vrbo, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Airbnb, and, to name a few—there are several ways consumers can keep travel plans affordable while making a positive impact on the economy.

Instead of thinking about the picturesque hotel or the direct flight, you can beat escalating prices by booking early to ensure your place is secure and the costs do not increase. You can also consider booking a fully refundable ticket price or hotel room to protect your money if an unexpected situation derails your trip. Remaining flexible on location and time can also significantly affect the price. Heading to an off-season area for tourists can do wonders for your wallet. Do you have a specific experience – and budget – in mind? Go to a short-term rental platform like Airbnb, where you have more control over the style, amenities, location and theme of your accommodations.

While inflation has significantly affected all industries, including travel and tourism, the current increase in goods and services does not mean that consumers have to stay at home. Taking a proactive approach when planning and using online marketplaces to compare and contrast options gives travelers trips that are perfectly suited to their interests and tight wallets. By doing so, the travel industry will continue to recover while helping to restore our economy.

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