It’s the holiday season and that means you’ll probably do some traveling to see your friends or family. But taking a trip or two this winter can be expensive during peak travel season if you aren’t careful. Here are some simple suggestions to save some travel money during the holidays.
Research Airline Fees
If you plan to travel by plane, make sure you do some research 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.
Research Other Methods of Travel
You don’t always have to fly. Alternative methods of travel may be an option, depending on where you live. 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.
Travel During a Dead Week
The time window immediately after a major holiday is often referred to as a “dead week” for travel. Traveling during a dead week means fewer people at the airport or on the road. Flights will also be significantly cheaper. If you’re looking to save money this season, consider traveling sometime during the first week of December, immediately following the long Thanksgiving weekend. The first two weeks of January are another major dead period.
Check School Calendars
It’s a good idea to 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.
Plan Your Meals for Your Trip
When we travel, we don’t often think about extra costs, like meals. Spending money on fast food or other restaurants can add up quickly. There’s also a possibility that your trip can be hampered 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.
Stay with Family or Friends
Lodging costs on a trip can be a large expense. During the holidays, you can save a lot of money by staying with friends or family. Get in touch ahead of time to make sure they have space and will be comfortable having you stay with them.
When you’re looking for holiday deals, be flexible. The best deals on 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. Keep your schedule open and you can save a few bucks.