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Gearing Up for Summer Travel? Here’s the 1 Credit Card You Really Need

A couple packs a suitcase for traveling, including a wallet and passport.

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It’s hardly a secret that travel has gotten expensive in general. But if you’re hoping to do your fair share of travel this summer, you may be in for a shock.

Because summer is a popular time to take vacation, you might end up spending even more to book a flight or hotel room than you would at another time during the year. In fact, a late April U.S. News & World Report survey shows that higher prices have made Americans rethink their travel plans.

Almost 20% of Americans are cutting back on the number of summertime trips they intend to take this year, while around 25% are reducing their trip budgets. And about 20% of Americans are cutting back in other areas to free up money for summer travel.

Meanwhile, almost 21% of Americans expect to spend $1,001 to $2,000 per person on summer travel, while almost 15% anticipate spending $2,001 to $3,000 per person. All told, a good 50% of Americans might spend $1,000 or more per traveler to get away this summer. And if you think you’ll do the same, then it’s really important to use the right credit card when booking your trips. Doing so could result in a world of savings.

It pays to get a travel rewards card

The downside of getting a travel rewards credit card is that many of these cards change an annual fee. But if you expect to do a lot of travel, the savings you get can more than make up for those fees.

For one thing, many travel reward cards make it easy to rack up extra cash back, hotel points, or miles, all of which can defray some of your future trip costs. Furthermore, it’s common for travel reward cards to offer perks that make air travel less expensive.

On Delta, for example, it costs $30 to check your first standard-sized bag on a domestic flight (and to be clear, that’s $30 each way). But many travel reward credit cards give you the benefit of a free checked bag when you fly domestically.

So let’s say you’re planning to take three trips this summer, or six flights total. If you check one bag per flight, that’s $180 in fees you might be facing. So if you have to spend $95 on an annual fee for a credit card that gets you out of those fees, it’s worth it.

Travel rewards credit cards also tend to offer perks like discounts on in-flight purchases. And some even give you airport lounge access, which can make for a more comfortable situation when you have a long layover between connecting flights.

Make the most of your summer

The last thing you want is to have to compromise on summer travel plans due to the expense involved. But with the right credit card, you may find that summertime travel is more affordable than expected. So it pays to research travel rewards cards and see which one might save you the most amount of money.

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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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