The holidays can be just as expensive as they are joyous. This is the time of the year to splurge on food and plane tickets–but we all know that traveling during the holiday season can be frustrating. With high rates and crowded airports, it’s not exactly something that many look forward to. But with the right tips, you can save money on holiday travel and even be stress-free during the process.
We know, easier said than done. But seriously, as the holidays get closer, demands for plane tickets increase, therefore pushing up fares for holiday travel. In fact, each day you put off reserving your ticket, up to $5 could be added to your fare. For both Christmas and New Years, consider booking by mid-November to find the best deals.
Get a Ride to the Airport
Airport parking around the holidays can be as scary as looking for a last-minute gift on Christmas Eve. Parking prices often increase due to the demand, so see if a friend can give you a lift to the airport. If not, call a cab or look into other public transportation methods. In comparison, it’s sure to be cheaper (and less frustrating) than trying to find a place to park.
Fly During Off-Peak Times
You’ll be able to find much cheaper deals if you adjust your schedule to avoid the days that are most traveled, which are Wednesday to Sunday for Thanksgiving, and Thursday to Sunday for both Christmas and New Years. For example, if you catch a flight on Christmas Day, it’s going to be, on average, $67 cheaper per ticket.
When bringing lots of holiday gifts, it’s easy to wind up with a suitcase that is ridiculously heavy. But make sure to pack smart this holiday season, otherwise you can end up paying more money for a heavier bag. You can also register checked luggage online before heading to the airport. Airlines often give you a break in the fees if you sign up this way.
Do Your Research
Compare prices and read the fine print to make sure you’re getting the best deal on both flights and hotels. You might see a selection of affordable hotels, but you might not notice it doesn’t include total costs, like booking and service fees. Likewise, one airline’s flight might be cheaper, but with additional fees for checked bags, carry on bags and choosing your seat (we’re looking at you, Spirit Airlines), it might end up more expensive in the long run.
Consider a Train or Bus
Look into taking a train or bus to your destination because it may be cheaper than flying. If you book about a month in advance, the average cost for a one-way bus ticket is only about $15 to $20.
If you’re planning on driving to your holiday destination, make sure to plan your trip in advance to find the most fuel-efficient route. And as tough as it may be, watch your speed. This will save you money on gas throughout your trip.