According to the United States Department of Transportation, the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s travel periods are estimated to be the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. In fact, travel around Christmas/New Year’s (to and from a destination 50 miles or more away) is estimated to increase by 23% when compared to the rest of the year. Besides the increase in traffic and chaos, increased travel also means increased costs. To help make the holiday travel process as affordable and stress-free as possible, we created a list of money-saving holiday travel tips below:
- Start looking and booking ASAP- As soon as you know the date of your trip, start looking up airline fares. According to Market Watch, if you haven’t booked your holiday travel tickets by now, you already missed the lowest rates. Fares will begin to peak after December 15th or sooner, depending on how fast flights fill, so start booking now!
- Stay connected- Stay in the loop about transportation deals by “liking” various companies you are considering using on Facebook and “following” them on Twitter. Deals via social media are the latest trend for airline companies. Sign up for various email alerts through travel websites to gather information on a wide variety of airlines. For example, Expedia and Skyscanner are great resources to use when searching for flights. We also suggest signing up for various airline companies’ newsletters. Newsletters can give ideas on where to fly for an up-and-coming vacation for cheap if you are not already set on a destination.
- Take advantage of credit card points and reward programs-Before booking your trip, sign up for any available frequent flyer or hotel rewards programs. In addition, look into using credit card points towards your trip. This could dramatically cut down your costs or even eliminate them entirely. When using these methods, just make sure to book your trip as far in advance as possible to avoid blackout dates.
- Fly the day of the holiday– Flights on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are much cheaper than flying the day or weekend before. This is because everyone wants to get to their destination ahead of time, which is fine, but you will get stuck paying a premium price. Kayak suggests the ideal time for Christmas travel is the 23rd and 24th, last year saving consumers more than 20% on average. For New Year’s they suggest departing between the 29th -1st and returning between the 31st-3rd, resulting in consumers saving up to 30%.
- Pack light– Avoid overweight baggage fees by packing as light as possible. According to USA Today, the average weight for carry-on luggage is 11 pounds, and the average weight for a checked bag is 50 pounds. To ensure you’re not overweight and to save time, weigh your suitcase before heading to the airport. Forget to pack something? Download this FREE Travel Checklist and use it as a guide when packing for your trip.
- Hitch a ride- Airport parking prices increase during the holidays, and due to high demand, spaces are limited. Save yourself time and money by getting a ride to the airport either by a friend, family member or by using public transportation.
- Get there early-As obvious as it may sound, it’s extremely important to allow for extra time when traveling during the holidays. Traffic and lines will be at an all-time high, so make sure to leave at least an hour earlier than usual to be safe.
- Keep gifts unwrapped- Reduce complications going through security at the airport by keeping gifts unwrapped. TSA personnel may need to unwrap gifts for inspection, so save yourself time and money by wrapping them once you land. Better yet, if possible have gifts sent directly to your destination to cut down on luggage weight and costs. To access TSA’s full list of food and gift regulations, click here.
- Consider all transportation options- Don’t limit yourself to just flying this holiday season. If your destination isn’t too far away, consider driving or taking the train or bus. Compare prices, time to destination, and convenience of each transportation method. You may find that another method could be the better choice.
Regardless of why you may need extra money this holiday season, whether it’s for travel or gifts, Personal Finance Company can help! We make loans for any reason and will work with you to help you find a solution that best fits your budget and needs. Contact your local Personal Finance branch or apply today to discover how we can help!
This material was prepared for general distribution. Although all blog posts are intended to be accurate, the information and third-party links provided in the Personal Finance Company blog is intended for general knowledge and educational purposes only without any warranties, implied or express, of any kind. The posts do not constitute investment, financial or other advice. Authors may or may not be licensed financial professionals; for specific advice, seek the input of a licensed and trained financial expert.
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