Budgets get a little tighter this time of year with traveling expenses to visit and spend time with loved ones for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah, shopping for the holidays and all of the other expenses that come along with the end of the year. While traveling can be a big expense and stressor for many families, there are some smart tips to follow to save a little, every bit counts. Follow our holiday travel tips and you can jetset with more ease (and cash) and less stress!
Purchase date matters
This is probably not very surprising, but flight prices can soar around the holidays and cost up to 75% more than the same route any other time of year. While buying a flight 54 days out typically scores you the best deal, for the holidays you need to be a little bit more ahead of the curve. We suggest purchasing tickets 80 days in advance for holiday travel in November and December.
Utilize peer-to-peer options
With you being out of your home for the holidays, chances are many people in your destination city will be too! Connect with individuals on sites like AirBnB, Couchsurfing, VRBO and other vacation-exchange websites and see what deals are out there. You might find a deal that is way more economical than a hotel in the same area.
In a similar fashion, you may not need a car where you are traveling. Ride shares like Uber, Lyft and ZipCar are a great alternative to renting a car which can cause upwards of $45 per day. Bonus: they are often cheaper than taxis. Or if you have a little extra time consider taking the train for a less-expensive, scenic route.
Don’t forget about local deals
Remember a few years ago when sites like Groupon and LivingSocial were all the craze? Well, they are still around — most likely including your destination town. Plan on exploring a museum, going out to dinner or seeing a movie wherever your holiday travels are taking you? Tickets and tabs for large groups can start to add up quickly, especially with surge pricing this time of year. Before picking a restaurant or entertainment venue for the night, a fast glance at a previously downloaded app can save you more than 50%!
Check out different data plans
Before heading overseas or anywhere remote spend a little time speaking with your Wireless carrier about the best plan for while you are away. Of course, you will want to be on wifi as much as possible to incur the lowest fees, and make sure you are aware of any costs ahead of time. Roaming charges and even text messages can add up to a surprising phone bill. This holds true for any time of year.
Skip the checked luggage
If you are flying somewhere for the winter holidays and will be seeing lots of family members and friends who you enjoy exchanging presents with, consider an alternative to stuffing your suitcase and paying the baggage fees. Many airlines charge $25 and up for luggage while rates at your local post office or other shipping magnates like FedEx, UPS and DHL may cost a fraction of that. This also works for any packages you want to ship home. While you may have to wait a few extra days to play with your shiny new toys, the cost savings could be worth it.