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Your Dream Vacation is Closer Than You Think: 7 Expert Tips for Wish List Travel without Breaking the Bank

Although most travelers were grounded since March 2020, their wanderlust continued to thrive. And now, as restrictions loosen in many areas, they are ready to embark on their dream excursions.

Three in four Americans plan to venture off to wish list locations on their next trip, according to a recent Hilton survey. Among their most desired destinations: the lush Hawaiian capital of Honolulu, the bright lights of Las Vegas and the bustling streets of New York City.

After a year of staying put, travelers are ready to splurge. Over half of the survey respondents (55%) said they plan to spend, on average, $2,100 more on their dream trip than they would have prior to the pandemic.

While the willingness is there, there is no need to break the bank. With a little budgeting and creativity, an affordable dream vacation is within reach. To help travelers plan the perfect trip for their wallet, Hilton has partnered with Patrice Washington, financial expert and author of “Redefine Wealth for Yourself.” Here are her top tips:

  1. Set a Budget: A wish list trip shouldn’t send you into debt. Research costs associated with your dream vacation ahead of time — activities, meals, airfare, lodging and more — and from there, set and stick to a budget. Tracking your monthly expenses is a great way to determine where to cut back and how much money to set aside.
  2. Join A Loyalty Program:
    Tapping into a rewards program can also make travel more value-driven. Members of Hilton’s guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors, have access to instant benefits and rewards, as well as hundreds of ways to earn and redeem Points, like special global promotions and free nights. With the Points Explorer tool, members can explore wish list destinations to see where their Points can take them, and they can also choose from nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay. Additionally, elite members have the option to select a complimentary dining benefit during hotel stays at several Hilton brands, a Daily Food & Beverage Credit in the U.S. and Continental Breakfast elsewhere, allowing them to save — even if for one meal a day — on dining while traveling. Members can also take advantage of partnerships, including car rentals and ridesharing with Lyft to earn or redeem Hilton Honors Points. 
  3. Apply for a Travel Credit Card:
    As travel rebounds, now is a great time to apply for a travel credit card to start earning on your trip expenses and everyday purchases. New card member incentives and offers for existing card members can earn you Hilton Honors Bonus Points on purchases that can help reach those dream destinations even faster.

    For a limited time, eligible new Hilton Honors American Express Card Members who apply and are approved by August 25, 2021 can take advantage of two special offers. With the Hilton Honors American Express Card, new members can earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, plus up to $100 statement credits on purchases at Hilton in the first 12 months. With the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, new members can earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, plus $0 introductory annual fee for the first year (thereafter the annual fee is $95). Plus, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card offers Gold status with Hilton Honors, Free Night Certificates when you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year, and valuable Points on everyday purchases that you can put toward your wish list vacation. Terms apply.

  4. Be Flexible with Travel Dates:
    Making your vacation more affordable doesn’t mean losing sight of your wish list destination. Being flexible with timing and open to off-peak seasons could inject added value into your trip. For the 20% of Americans who have Miami atop their wish lists, staying at Hilton Garden Inn Miami South Beach or nearby at Tru by Hilton Fort Lauderdale Downtown during the off-season still lets you enjoy the best of what South Florida has to offer without the crowds. 
  5. Think Beyond Resorts:
    Accommodations are one of the biggest expenses on any vacation, but the money you save on lodging can be used toward memorable tours and excursions. With more than 2,200 hotels around the U.S., you’re never more than 30 minutes away from a Hampton, and with the dual-brand Hampton by Hilton Las Vegas Convention Center and Home2 Suites by Hilton Las Vegas Convention Center, you don’t have to look far to find the value-added amenities and hospitality Hilton is known for at a cost-conscious price point.
  6. Go Big at Lunch:
    Seeking out local cuisine is a great way to experience the flavor of a wish list destination. Prices at restaurants during the afternoon tend to be cheaper than dinner — and eating a substantial mid-day meal could fuel you up for an afternoon and evening of adventure.
  7. Book a Room with a Kitchen:
    Keeping it simple for a few meals is an easy way to cut back on spending. The spacious suites with fully-equipped kitchens at Homewood Suites by Hilton New Orleans French Quarter and kitchenettes at Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown give you the freedom to plan out and prepare meals or tropical cocktails in your room after a day of adventure.

At the end of the day, wish list travel is all about making unforgettable memories. As life begins to return to normal, following these budget-savvy tips will help prepare you for the trip you’ve always imagined. What are you waiting for? Start planning today!


About Hilton

Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising more than 7,000 properties and more than 1.1 million rooms, in 123 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for five consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the nearly 146 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.


About Hilton Honors

Hilton Honors is the award-winning guest loyalty program for Hilton’s 18 world-class brands comprising more than 7,000 properties in 123 countries and territories. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount and free standard Wi-Fi. Members also have access to contactless technology exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app, where members can check in, choose and access their room using Digital Key. Hilton Honors offers its nearly 146 million members hundreds of ways to earn and redeem Points, including with select co-branded credit cards. Members can redeem Points for free nights, purchases on Amazon, exclusive experiences, charitable contributions and more. The program is free to join and travelers can enroll online at hiltonhonors.com. Learn more about Hilton Honors at stories.hilton.com/hiltonhonors, and follow Hilton Honors on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


About Hilton Garden Inn

The award-winning Hilton Garden Inn brand provides business and leisure guests upscale, affordable accommodations and modern amenities for an experience that is simply on another level. The Hilton Garden Inn Promise affirms the brand’s goal to make each guest’s stay better and brighter. Guaranteed. With 960 hotels in 56 countries and territories around the world, the brand ensures today’s busy travelers have a bright and satisfying experience, starting with the first hello. Experience a positive stay at Hilton Garden Inn by booking at hgi.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Hilton Garden Inn at stories.hilton.com/hgi, and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


About Tru by Hilton

Tru by Hilton is a game-changing hotel brand with more than 225 open locations across North America, providing guests with a consistent, fun experience at an affordable price. Spirited, simplified and grounded in value, Tru by Hilton is designed for cross-generational appeal. Efficiently designed modern guestrooms feature rolling desks, oversized windows for natural light and bright, spacious bathrooms. Guests can enjoy complimentary hot breakfast and free Wi-Fi. Premium snacks, light meal options and single-serve wine and beer are available for purchase at the 24/7 Eat. & Sip. market. Experience a positive stay at Tru by Hilton by booking at trubyhilton.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Tru by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/trubyhilton, and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


About Hampton by Hilton

As the No. 1 ranked lodging franchise for the last 13 years by Entrepreneur®, Hampton by Hilton including Hampton Inn by Hilton and Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton serves quality-driven and value-conscious travelers at more than 2,800 properties in 35 countries and territories around the globe. The brand continues to lead its segment by providing guests with high quality, thoughtfully designed accommodations and amenities, such as modern and spacious rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi and free hot breakfast. Hampton by Hilton is committed to delivering an exceptionally friendly and authentic service all backed by the 100% Hampton GuaranteeTM. Experience a positive stay at Hampton by Hilton by booking at hampton.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app.  Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Hampton by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/hampton, and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


About Home2 Suites by Hilton

Home2 Suites by Hilton, one of the fastest growing brands in Hilton’s history, is a mid-tier, all-suite, award-winning extended-stay hotel concept designed to offer stylish accommodations with flexible guest room configurations and inspired amenities for cost-conscious guests and their pets. With a commitment to environmentally friendly products and hotel operations, Home2 Suites by Hilton offers complimentary hot breakfast, innovative and customizable guestroom designs, laundry and fitness areas, free Wi-Fi, multiple outdoor spaces, 24-hour business centers, expansive community spaces and pet-friendly environments. Home2 Suites by Hilton has 560 open hotels with more than 630 in development. Experience a positive stay at Home2 Suites by Hilton by booking at home2suites.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Home2 Suites by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/home2suites, and follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


About Embassy Suites by Hilton

Embassy Suites by Hilton, one of Hilton’s 18 market-leading brands, is dedicated to delivering what matters most to travelers. The full service, upscale brand offers both leisure and business travelers an approachable, best-in-class experience with two-room suites, free made-to-order breakfast, inviting open atriums, 24-hour fitness centers and a complimentary evening reception. Embassy Suites by Hilton offers more than 260 open hotels with 42 properties in development. Experience a positive stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton by booking at embassysuites.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Embassy Suites by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/embassysuites, and follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


About Embassy Suites by Hilton

Embassy Suites by Hilton, one of Hilton’s 18 market-leading brands, is dedicated to delivering what matters most to travelers. The full service, upscale brand offers both leisure and business travelers an approachable, best-in-class experience with two-room suites, free made-to-order breakfast, inviting open atriums, 24-hour fitness centers and a complimentary evening reception. Embassy Suites by Hilton offers more than 260 open hotels with 42 properties in development. Experience a positive stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton by booking at embassysuites.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Embassy Suites by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/embassysuites, and follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.