Tips for Saving Money on Holiday Travel

in Travel Deals, Trip Planning

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time to start thinking about all of the (often costly) details that come with holiday travel.

For a variety of reasons, it’s true that the holidays are simultaneously one of the most joyful, stressful and costly times of year. Here are some tips for keeping holiday travel costs low, which will inevitably help to decrease stress and hopefully increase your holiday joy. Start planning your travel early. Whether you’re flying, driving or taking a train, make sure to start planning your travel early. There are several advantages to doing this. The more you research, the better fares you’ll be able to find. Use these travel deal websites to get you started. See if you can redeem any of your frequent flyer miles for holiday travel (you never know). Also, remember that lots of people ask for time off from work over the holidays. Getting your request for time off early will improve the changes of getting your vacation days (instead of having to take unpaid vacation - which just adds insult to the injury of holiday expenses). Holiday travel tip: When booking flights, make sure you leave enough time for transfers (which make take longer due to increased holiday travel traffic). [caption id="attachment_4627" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Going home for the holidays? Here are some tips to help you get there on the cheap."][/caption] Get creative. Airlines tend to increase prices over the holidays, so get creative in your trip planning. Could you take a few days off on either side of the holiday? This may improve your chances of finding a better airfare. Staying in one location from Christmas through the New Year holiday (if you can swing it) will obviously be cheaper than hopping on a plane for both holidays. Think about moving your holiday celebration by several days or so. Perhaps you could celebrate Christmas on Dec. 22th instead of Dec 25th - your chances of finding affordable airfare will be greater. Holiday travel tip: Book your flight for late or early in the day, not during peak hours. Though waking up early (or staying up late at night) might sound painful, the payoffs are pretty great (shorter lines, less people to deal with, perhaps even more room on the plane). Pack light. Especially if you’re only leaving for a long weekend, try to pack everything you can in your carry-on. This way you can avoid having to pay fees to check your bag. Make sure that your carryon meets the size and weight requirements of the carrier you’ll be flying as well as security requirements (less than 3 oz. bottles of liquid, etc.).

An additional perk of just bringing a carry-on is not having to worry about losing your bag or having to wait for it at baggage claim (which allows you to get to the celebration faster). Holiday travel tip: In order to pack lighter, think over your clothing for each day carefully. Remember, pants and sweaters can be worn more than once. Rethink your holiday travel habits. Do you always rent a car when you go visit your family? Perhaps you could forgo this luxury this year.  A family member could pick you up from and drop you off at the airport. Perhaps someone you know has a car you could borrow for an afternoon or two when you’re in town. Or if the place you’re going has reliable public transportation, that’s even better. Do you tend to bring a lot of gifts for family and friends when you travel? Perhaps it’s time to rethink this as well.  After all, it’s miserable to try to figure out how to pack all of those gifts in a carry-on. Holiday travel tip: Consider shipping larger items to your destination in advance, or buy small no-fuss items like gift cards for your loved ones. Even better, consider donating to a charity in the name of your friends and family members or doing something special together (a homemade meal, a movie outing with nieces and nephews) while you’re in town. After all, your presence is the best holiday present to those who care about you.

Previous post:

Next post: