How to travel better, smarter and cheaper

Some travel advice is ageless. Go in the off season when you can, midweek if possible. Be willing to take red-eye flights. Don’t order room service. Take off your Dodgers hat.

The advice below is different. It’s tailored to this strange moment in history, with inflation galloping and pandemic recovery lurching unpredictably as most airlines, hotels and rental car outlets charge more than they did pre-2020. There are thrills and insights waiting for travelers out there, and we could use them. Here are some ideas on how to travel better, more easily and more affordably in the year ahead.

1. Take a ferry

Really, just about any ferry. The prices are usually a pittance, and in exchange you get the thrill of being on the water and the novelty of a new skyline view. Even if you’re vulnerable to seasickness, most of these are quick, easy rides unlikely to trouble your stomach.

In San Diego, it’s $7 each way to ride between downtown and Coronado (bikes free). In San Francisco, it’s $13.50 to $14 each way to Sausalito, Tiburon, Angel Island or Larkspur; or $4.50 to $5.75 each way between the Embarcadero and Oakland. In Newport Beach, it’s $2.50 per car (and $1.50 per adult passenger) or $1.50 per pedestrian each way between Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island. Length of journey: about 800 feet.

Even for the 20-plus-mile journey between Long Beach (or San Pedro) and Catalina Island, the tab is a relatively modest $83.50 round trip, and you have a good chance of seeing dolphins. For this one, you might want Dramamine or Bonine, though.

2. Consider Avelo Airlines for flights to western airports that other carriers ignore

The carrier flew its first flights in April 2021. From Burbank, Avelo flies direct to Sonoma/Santa Rosa and

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