It’s almost that time of year again and while many of us can’t seem to see past Halloween, we should be conscious of the rapidly approaching holiday season and with that, increasing travel costs. Check out these simple tips to save you money on your travel this holiday season.
1. Book early and save.
If you’ve figured out your family’s travel plans for the season, the time to book is now. The earlier you book, the better your chances are for getting a great deal on holiday travel plans. It is recommended that you book at least three weeks in advance when purchasing a flight. You’ll see the lowest fares debuting in early November. If you have to wait to book your travel plans, then try waiting to book on days when travel is typically cheaper, such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays, instead of booking on a Friday or Saturday.
When booking early, you may be worried about missing out on a cheaper fare price. However, travel sites such as Orbitz, Expedia and Priceline all offer Best Price Guarantees, which can help you get refunds if a lower fare price is found. Make sure to read each companies’ fine print and list of flight qualifications in order to receive your refund.
2. Fly the day of the holiday.
Often times, the most expensive days to travel are the days before and after the holiday because that is when most people travel. Take the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as an example. If you can rearrange travel plans to fly on the day of the actual holiday, it will increase your odds of scoring a better deal. Your in-laws or other family members may not be the happiest about it, but your wallet definitely will be.
3. Look for coupons and deals.
Nowadays there is a coupon or deal for nearly everything, especially travel. The business of travel is very competitive, so you will find deals on anything from rental cars, hotels and flights. Try booking all three together for a package deal. If you’re looking only for a hotel, try looking for exclusive deals like 10 percent off Best Western Room Rates to guarantee you’re getting a great rate.
4. Get there early.
The last added piece of stress you need when traveling for the holidays is missing your flight and having to pay extra in flight change fees. These are the busiest travel times of the year so be prepared when getting to the airport; lines will be long and patience short. Getting there early will ensure you’re on-time to your gate (now let’s just hope the plane is on-time, too).
Parking can add an extra amount of time to your travels. From trying to navigate through the overly packed parking lot, finding what seems like the last spot and catching the shuttle to the terminal, your well-prepared travel plans could quickly change. Instead of parking, find a friend to take you to the airport. Not only will this save you on time, but also money on the inflated parking fees at the airport. If you find that all your friends are also traveling, try using a coupon code for a free Uber or Lyft ride.
5. Ship your extra luggage and gifts.
Depending on how many days you’re traveling and how many are in your family, shipping your extra luggage and gifts is a great way to cut costs this season. Many airlines are charging extra fees for checked baggage and sometimes even for carry-on bags. Almost all airlines will have an overweight bag fee as well. If it is feasible for you to ship any extra belongings ahead of your trip then you could definitely be enhancing your holiday travel savings. In addition, shipping any gifts you will be giving away is a great way to not only keep the packages looking freshly wrapped, but also avoiding any TSA inspections of wrapped packages which will cost you precious time.
Many people don’t think of October as a “holiday” month, but we all know after the end of Halloween comes Christmas music on repeat, the smell of apple pie and of course holiday shopping. You try to save money during the holidays by shopping on days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday but fail when it comes to saving on holiday travel. The key is to be aware and book early. Try using some of these tips when you travel this season and let us know how it goes. Safe travels, everyone.