September 22, 2016
With Christmas and Thanksgiving right around the corner, that means it will soon be time for the holiday travel season. This time of year is incredibly popular, and costs can add up quickly. But here’s some tips on how you can save some money and some sanity.
Know when to fly
When it comes to saving money on airfare, timing is everything. First, it is recommended you buy tickets one month to three months in advance. Ticket prices go up considerably two weeks before takeoff, and even more so for holiday travel. Second, consider flying in on a Tuesday or Wednesday – those days tend to be the cheapest – while Friday and Sunday are going to be the most expensive. When it comes to holidays, most people tend to fly a couple days before the holiday starts. You can save money by flying close to the actual holiday date. You can also save money by choosing to fly a red-eye or late night flight. This USA Today article outlines a lot of good strategies. Also, keep an eye on airline prices by using a website like Airfarewatchdog.
Be a smart traveler
Even if you do find a good deal on holiday airfare, be prepared for crowds at the airport. Remember that the window between Christmas and New Year’s, with a few days on each side, are some of the busiest days to fly. Give yourself at least an hour or two extra at the airport. If you bring carry-on instead of checking a bag, you can save yourself time (and money). If you have gifts you’re bringing, it may be cheaper (or easier) to just ship them ahead of time. Don’t forget to check in to your flight for the best seat and constantly monitor flight status—busy travel days can be known for delays. Check out this list for even more strategies for flying over the holiday season.
Flying isn’t the only option
While it may be easier and faster to fly, you may find that you save a lot of money if you just choose to drive. While a car ride may take longer, consider that you are saving yourself the hassle of flying and having to pay to rent a car at your destination. If you are traveling with a family, this can be a huge cost savings. Plus, you can bring as much luggage as you want as long as you can fit it in the car. Since gas prices are cheaper now, a roadtrip doesn’t cost what it used to. You can use a site like GasBuddy to monitor gas prices along your route. If you’re traveling with family, use sites like Roadtrippers to find fun stops along the way to keep everyone entertained.
While the holiday season can be stressful, don’t let costs drive you over the edge. Stay calm, do your research, and you might find that travel doesn’t have to be so bad.