Considering that it’s already November, we’re hoping you booked your holiday travel arrangements well in advance. If not, there are still a few ways you can save on your short-notice travel plans. Don’t wait too long though, certain parts of the country are more expensive than others during the holiday season. Check out the Pricing Holiday Travel article to see some numbers around holiday travel.
The CGS Team has put together 4 tips to help you save on holiday travel plans this year, or for future holiday seasons! One of the best ways to save money on holiday travel is to buy your tickets early. In fact, co-founder of FareCompare.com Rick Seaney says that you spend $5 for each day you postpone purchasing your ticket. For Christmas and New Year’s travel, book by Mid-November to get the best price.
Fly When Others Don’t
Take Kiplinger’s advice, “You’ll land some of the cheapest fares if you adjust your schedule to avoid the most traveled itineraries — Wednesday to Sunday for Thanksgiving, and Thursday to Sunday for both Christmas and New Year’s.” Although it may be an inconvenience, or shorten your holiday fun, you can save major bucks by flying on holiday eves, or on the actual holiday days. According to Bing Travel, you can save up to an extra $67 by simply flying on Christmas day.
Be Smart With Your Bags
If you spend money on gift-wrapping before your trip each year, think again. Airport security gets tighter around the holiday season, which may result in TSA personnel going through your suitcases and opening gifts that may already be wrapped. Wait until you reach your destination before wrapping gifts or spending money on the gift-wrapping.
Also, avoid baggage fees during the holiday season. Southwest allows flyers to check in a bag for free, but other airlines can charge up to $45 per bag. If you need to bring extra luggage for your trip (gifts or items that won’t be returning with you), consider shipping the items. If you send them early enough, you can save big time by simply paying for shipping, as opposed to luggage and overweight bag fees.
Bum a Ride
While Uber and Lyft are major modes of transportation, holiday airport trips could result in longer travel times, higher surge pricing, and a lack of availability. Taxis and airport shuttles are also busier during the holiday season, and driving yourself could result in major parking fees at the airport.
Ask a friend or family member to drop you off and pick you up from the airport. Giving them $20 for gas is much more cost-effective than spending more money on parking or Uber fees. You can also return the favor to them when they leave for their next trip.
The Power of Social Media
While there’s not much you can do to avoid hotel fees (except for removing them completely by staying with a friend or family member), you can use social media to potentially get free upgrades or complimentary items.
Tweet or Facebook your hotel to let them know you are excited about your upcoming stay for the holidays. The power of social media is great. You never know when they’ll comp you a free breakfast or upgrade your room, just for sharing a positive word about their company.
There’s no doubt that traveling during the holiday season is more expensive than any other time of the year, but you can save money by planning ahead. The earlier you start planning and saving for your travels, the less stressful the experience will be. Do you travel for the holidays? How do you save money on holiday travel? Post a comment below to share your holiday travel savings tips!