The holidays are an expensive time of the year — especially if you plan to travel to see family or friends. But with a little planning and preparation in advance, you can keep travel costs low this season and put money you would’ve spent on travel expenses toward other holiday costs.
1. Book Early
The typical sweet spot for booking flights seems to be around three weeks before your departure date, but holiday travel can be a bit different. Purchasing your flights for the holidays several weeks or even months in advance often means a lower cost versus what you’d pay three weeks or less before your departure date.
2. Fly Early In The Morning Or Late At Night
If it doesn’t bother you to take an early morning or late-night flight, you could find a decent price tag on holiday airfare. An additional benefit is the airport and aircraft might be less crowded, too.
3. Fly Midweek & Avoid Peak Days
Being strategic about the days of the week when you fly could save you some cash. Flying during the middle of the week tends to be the cheapest, while Friday and Sunday flights tend to be the most expensive. Avoiding the day before and after a holiday could prove to be a little cheaper, too. And if you’re really flexible and don’t mind flying on an actual holiday, you’ll likely get a reduced rate on your ticket.
4. Pack Your Own Snacks
Airport and gas station prices on snacks and drinks are usually significantly higher than typical grocery store prices. To avoid the high price tag, plan ahead. Pack snacks and drinks for your travel day, and if you’re flying, take an empty bottle to fill up with water once you get through security.
5. Order Gifts Online For Free Shipping
Instead of packing your gifts and paying fees for baggage weight or paying to have gifts shipped to your travel destination, take advantage of Cyber Monday 2018 deals and have your gifts shipped for free directly to the place you are visiting. You might even be able to fit all of your clothes in a carry-on and avoid paying checked baggage fees, since you won’t be factoring in space for gifts.
6. Plan Road Trip Routes Strategically
Knowing exactly how far you’re going to drive in a day and where you’re going to sleep at night will help you budget for a road trip. If you have friends or family members who live along your route, consider asking if you can stay with them for a night. If you choose not to plan ahead, you might have to stay at a more expensive hotel out of necessity.
7. Use Travel & Rewards Points
If you have accumulated travel points for hotels, flights, or rental cars, then the holidays can be a great time to cash in — especially if the whole family is traveling together.
8. Share Expenses
If you know anyone else who’s road-tripping to the same area and you will all fit in one vehicle, you can cut your gas expense drastically by carpooling. (Not to mention, it’s a more eco-friendly option!)