Taking a holiday trip this Winter to see your friends or family can be expensive during the peak travel season. Here are a few suggestions for saving money on holiday travel.
Travel Before or After a Holiday
If you’re looking to save money on travel this season, consider traveling sometime during the first week of December, immediately following the long Thanksgiving weekend or the first two weeks of January. These time windows are often referred to as “dead weeks” for travel. There will be fewer people at the airport or on the road, and flights will be significantly cheaper.
Travel Around Busy School Days
Check your local school district’s calendar to find out when students will go on holiday vacation, and when they will return to class. Depending on the school calendars in your area, the days before and after holidays are almost always huge travel days. This will affect prices for traveling. Avoid taking your trip these days to keep expenses low.
Consider All Airline Costs
Do some research on flights months ahead of the departure date. Use a fare-tracking site like Airfarewatchdog.com to get alerts on good deals and consider booking a flight outside peak holiday travel days. The flight cost is not the only thing to keep in mind. Other costs, such as luggage fees need to be considered. Some airlines let you check a bag for free, while others make you pay $25 or more per bag. Avoid these fees by taking less luggage or foregoing checked baggage altogether. If you plan to bring gifts, consider shipping them ahead of time.
Consider Alternative Travel Methods
Alternative travel methods to flying should be considered. Traveling by car or train can be a lot less expensive if you can take the extra time required to reach your destination. Make sure to compare costs and travel times.
Flexibility is Your Friend
The best deals on holiday flights will typically have multiple layovers or be red-eye flights. Traveling on an actual holiday, like Thanksgiving Day, instead of the day before, may yield cheaper rates. By being flexible and keeping your schedule open, you can save a few bucks.
Prepare Meals for Travel
Spending money on fast food or other restaurants when you travel can add up quickly. Keep in mind that your trip may also be delayed by weather problems, mechanical issues, traffic, and other factors. A longer trip means you’ll need to eat more meals. Save money and be prepared for delays by packing meals or snacks to take with you.
Find a Free Place to Stay
During the holidays, you can save a lot of money by staying with friends or family. Instead of shelling out money for hotel costs get in touch with loved ones ahead of time. Make sure they have space and will be comfortable having you stay with them.