Take Your Summer Travel Plans to New Heights With These Tips & Tricks

Don’t just wing it as you travel this summer. From prepaid RDU parking to the best flight-booking days, we’ll have you soaring—and saving—as you fly the friendly skies. 

Travel confidence is soaring; mask mandates have been lifted and the U.S. no longer requires people traveling back into the country to get a COVID test… and like birds of a feather, we’re ready to spread our wings and, well, flock together. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows during peak travel season (especially during busy summer holidays like the Fourth of July)—so before you flip out, allow us to highlight some stress-reducing, money-saving summer travel hacks.

Put It in Park

Gone are the days of pulling up preflight in full-on anxiety mode to find all parking lots full. Enter the super-huge revelation that is ParkRDU’s online pre-booking option (tell your friends about it—or don’t and save all the good spots for yourself…). Choose your date, time and location—only caveat is you have to book at least 24 hours in advance. Bonus: You can also see the capacity of each parking lot in real-time via RDU Airport’s website… so you can swap #stressmode for #airplanemode and have one less hiccup between home and sipping that cocktail at 40,000 feet. rdu.com

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Sure no one wants to wake up at 4am to catch a flight, but it’s worth it—trust us… just don’t oversleep and get left behind like Kevin McCallister. Pros’ll tell you that taking the earliest flight available is an easy hack (think more follow-up options, more flexibility, fewer frantic bodies). You’ll thank us when that seemingly more convenient afternoon flight you were eyeing gets canceled and you’re not having to spend the night in an airport lobby (hey, Tom Hanks in The Terminal!).

Direct Is Best

Like dawn flights, direct flights are your new best friend for steering clear of potential travel headaches. Where possible, choose the option with the most direct flights available to avoid unexpected cancellations and delays. Plus, the more stops involved, the higher the risk (*mind wanders to your last Olympic sprint through some rando terminal*). And, c’mon, who likes layovers anyway?

Peak Flights

While most people will tend to jump on that Sunday afternoon flight in order to get back for work Monday, beat the Sunday scaries (and high prices!) by opting for flights on off-peak days and times—like Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays. And if that just isn’t possible for you, early morning (ahem, smarter and cheaper!) and red-eye flights will also help save you money and stress.

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.