Traveling and the holidays go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re driving a few hours to grandma’s house or flying clear across the country to visit loved ones, there’s no need to break the bank. To help you avoid crowded airports, overbooked hotels, and rising holiday travel prices, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind.
1. Be flexible with flight times
If possible, travel during the workweek, when airfare prices are almost always lower. You’re much more likely to score a deal when you fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
2. Avoid hotel chains
If you’re not staying with friends or family, there’s really no need to stay at big, expensive brand-name hotels. You can often find the same value and amenities at budget or family-owned hotels. These hotels might even have more personality and offer discounts and activity options in the area. Or, check out short-term rentals like Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO.
3. Book at the right time
While it’s great to be prepared, booking your travel plans too far in advance may mean overpaying. Pay attention to prices each day and watch out for discounts as hotels and airlines are looking to fill seats and unsold rooms.
4. Fly into alternate airports
If you’re on your way to a major city with multiple airports, try to fly into one of the smaller ones. These airports are often less expensive than the bigger, international airport in that region. However, don’t forget to factor in extra transportation costs (taxi, rental, etc.) once you arrive.
5. Subscribe to discount sites
6. Don’t check your luggage
You may have seen in the news recently that some airlines are charging this holiday season for your checked bags. Plan to only have carry-on luggage when you can to save you both time and money. Pack only what you will truly need to make the travel process go much more smoothly. Also, consider shipping holiday gifts ahead of time instead of packing them. In addition to saving money with carry-on luggage, you won’t have the added headache of lost checked bags if you encounter travel delays.