WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- Gas is up to $4 a gallon and airfares are up 6% to 11% or more. Who's ready for summer travel?
Despite the rising cost of taking a trip, American Express' (AXP - Get Report) Spending and Saving Tracker found that 59% of Americans plan on traveling this summer. How they plan on doing so varies dramatically, as 38% of consumers are continuing their post-recession frugality and saving up for their vacation. As roughly 25% say they'll try saving on other portions of their trip to offset plane tickets or prices at the pump, Travelocity senior editor Genevieve Shaw Brown recommends travelers shave off some costs by giving greater consideration to where they sleep.
"Airfare is more expensive than last summer, so look to the hotel to offset rising costs," she says. "Added-value offers, like free room nights, free room upgrades and resort credits, all help to offset other higher costs while giving consumers more vacation for less money."
There will be even more compromise this summer. American Express says nearly 60% of the general population will be making tradeoffs to cut vacation spending. Roughly 15% will use hotel, airline and credit card rewards points, and 68% will be cutting vacations down to a series of weekend getaways.Some travelers are getting creative with airfare; a TripAdvisor air travel survey found that 43% of travelers booked a connecting flight to stay within budget. At least they're still flying. According to FareCompare.com, American (AMR), United (UAL - Get Report), Continental, Delta (DAL - Get Report), U.S. Airways (LCC) and the discount carriers have tried 12 broad fare hikes in the past four months, with seven actually sticking. As a result, TripAdvisor says 33% of travelers are planning to drive to one or more of their destinations when they would have flown. "As we've seen when times are hard or in other years when gas prices skyrocket, people do all kinds of different of things to say money," says Anne Banas, editor of SmarterTravel. "Some people shorten their radius and travel a shorter distance, but some people shorten the length of their trip and instead of going for a week or two, they just stay for five days." Such sacrifices are noble, but unnecessary if your destination is affordable enough. TheStreet did some summer vacation scrounging and came up with 10 destinations that won't break budget-conscious travelers: