Whoever said, “getting there is half the fun” clearly never had to travel on a budget. The fact is, traveling over the holidays can be expensive, and taxing for both your wallet and your sanity. That’s why we’d like to provide you with seven easy ways to save on holiday travel.
1. Do Your Research
Planning ahead is key to saving money on holiday travel. Whether it’s a short cross country flight, or a long drive to visit family, preparation can make a big difference when it comes to how much your travel experience will cost you. Start looking for flights before the holiday season and consider alternate forms of transportation like the train or bus. If you’re driving, plan your route in advance so that you can find the best deals on gas, food, and lodging.
2. Be Flexible
If you’re flying home for Thanksgiving, remember that the Wednesday before the holiday is the busiest travel day of the year, and also the most expensive. If you have the option, try getting an early start on the holiday itself. Most airlines will have flights available, and you can avoid high prices and long lines at check-in.
If you can, try leaving before or after the holiday rush. If you don’t want to give up vacation days, see if your boss will let you work remotely.
The same applies to driving. Getting an early start (before rush-hour) can help you save on time stuck in traffic, which also means you’re spending less on gas. Best part? If you leave early enough, most of the family will sleep through the trip which makes life easier for everyone.
3. Download Before You Go
More and more people find it advantageous to download movies, TV shows, and audiobooks to keep them entertained while travelling. Unless you have unlimited data, remember to download at home using a Wi-Fi network. Otherwise, you could be facing expensive data charges on your next bill.
4. Ship Your Gifts
If you are planning to bring large or bulky gifts with you when you travel, make sure that you don’t wind up paying extra to check those packages with your luggage.
Instead, have your gifts shipped to your destination in advance. The post office has great flat rate deals that allow you ship as much as you’d like as long as it fits in a single box. Better yet, if you’re ordering a gift online, or through a big-box retailer, have the gift shipped to your destination, or arrange for it to be picked up at a nearby store.
You can always wrap your gifts when you arrive.
5. Brown Bag It
Keeping everyone fed while travelling can be an expensive proposition. Airport concessions and highway rest stops know that they have a captive audience and no competition, so they have no qualms about raising the price of everything from sandwiches, to snacks and candy, to soft-drinks.
Instead of paying through the nose, plan ahead. Pack your snacks, lunches, and drinks before you hit the road, or if you know that you will need to stop, allow yourself time to find something off the
highway that is more affordable.
6. Skip the Hotel
In many places, the price of a hotel room will spike over the holidays due to increased demand. Instead, try looking for a room for rent using services like Airbnb, Homeaway, or VRBO. You can find homes and apartments for short-term rental almost anywhere in the world, and the prices are likely to be cheaper than a hotel. Who knows, you might find someone traveling to where you live who’s willing to pay you for the use of your home.
7. Create a Budget
Remember that whatever you spend on travel should be factored into your overall holiday budget. If a trip is eating into your revenue, it might be a sign that you need to re-think the destination, the method of travel, or the trip as a whole.
We want to help. That’s why we created the Ultimate Holiday Budget Spreadsheet. This incredible resource allows you to create a holiday budget that factors in travel expenses and lets you plan for all of your holiday expenses before the start of the season.
Want to create a budget for after the holidays? We can help!
Or schedule an appointment by calling DebtHelper.com at 800-920-2262.