Stop Overspending On Holiday Travel
December 3, 2014 / Sara Davis / Save Money on My Vacation
The season to be jolly is right around the corner, and you’re anxious to see your loved ones.
You may have thought about what to pack, what presents you are going to buy and many other things, but you haven’t had the time to decide anything yet. Before thinking about everything at once, start with how you’re going to travel during this busy time of year.
Just remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are a few ways to curb travel expenses this season.
Travel By Plane
It’s best to book your domestic airline ticket 54 days prior to departure to secure the best deal, reports Cheap Air. Here are a few more cost-cutting strategies:
- Email alerts: Whether you want to be alerted when the particular price of a flight fluctuates or a group of flights, an email alert website such as Airfarewatchdog has you covered.
- Compare airports: It may be more sensible to drive 30 miles to catch a plane at a neighboring airport, especially if the price is right.
- Travel during off-peak periods: The first and last flight of the day as well as those that fall on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday typically have the least amount of passengers, so airlines lower prices to fill the seats. So, if you can leave during the middle of the week, do it.
- Pack lightly: The more you pack, the more you pay. Unless your luggage is permitted on board free of charge, aim to pack lighter.
Travel By Car
If you want to slash costs or avoid the holiday airport rush, try carpooling with a group of friends headed in the same direction. If you are going to drive to your holiday destination, keep these things in mind:
- Make a detailed itinerary that includes where you plan to stop and sleep for the night. This will reduce any pre-trip anxiety and last minute hotel splurges.
- Avoid departing during rush hour unless you want to burn a tank of gas sitting in traffic. What a way to start your vacation!
- Download Gas Buddy. This smartphone app is sure to point you to the gas stations with the best prices.
- Confirm your car is in tip-top shape before hitting the road. If not, you could be in for a major financial setback.
Travel By Bus
The Greyhound may be the most affordable option for your holiday transportation needs. Just don’t forget to check out their deals page before booking your bus ride. They offer a lot of discount programs including advance purchase, veterans and student advantage and companion fares.
Travel By Train
It can be exciting to explore the great outdoors through your window seat on the Amtrak. Plus, they offer complimentary Wi-Fi to keep you entertained. Unfortunately, the costs of traveling by train have skyrocketed in the last few years, so be sure to look at the deals page before buying your tickets. Discounts are available for children, seniors, members of the military and AAA.
Other Travel Savings Ideas
Regardless of how you choose to travel this season, keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Don’t procrastinate. The earlier you start checking for tickets and hotels, the better deals you will find.
- Subscribe to the company’s newsletter. Some organizations use their newsletter to send out promotional offers and coupon codes exclusive to members of the mailing list.
- Get social. Connect with your favorite airline or hotel on social media to stay in the loop regarding sales and special events.
- Search for promo codes on Coupons.com or RetailMeNot.
- Cash out rewards points. Just be sure to ask questions early about using your points, and check for any blackout dates.
- Bring along snacks. Buying food in bulk at the grocery store is much cheaper than the gas station, vending machine, airport or in-flight price.
- Book online. The lowest fares are typically posted on the company’s website.
- Pick up the phone if you don’t like what you see. You never know until you ask.
If you implement these tips while planning your trip, your wallet will thank you. What's your best travel tip? Let us know in the comments below!