Holiday travel can be expensive, especially if you need to book flights, rental cars, or hotels. But, there are ways to make it easier on the wallet. Here are five ideas to get you started.
1: Drive instead of fly.
Depending on where you’re going for the holidays and how much time you have, driving may be a more suitable option. Look at it this way, the biggest expense will be fuel, and there is no way that gas expenditures will add up to even one round-trip airline ticket. Plus, you’ll have all of the room you need to tote gifts to and from your destination, assuming that your trip is to see family.
2: Consider alternate airports when flying.
My husband and I travel to Ohio several times a year, and it helps to know that there are four different airports that will get us close to our destination. Many times, one of those airports provides significant savings over the others, even if it means that we have to drive a little further. The only thing to watch out for with using alternate airports is rental car prices. The savings in flights may be counteracted by more expensive car rentals.
3: Fly on the actual holiday.
I know it sounds crazy, but the cost to fly on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day can be much less than the days leading up to or directly after those occasions. Flying on Thanksgiving Day isn’t as bad, if you can get an early morning flight, because you’ve got the rest of the long weekend to spend with your family. It’s a little harder to fly home on Christmas Day and leave your family behind sooner than you want to. The biggest benefit to this notion is not only the reduced cost, but also the avoidance of crowds.
4: Book a package deal.
I have found that websites like expedia.com are pretty good at providing the best deal on flights/rental cars/hotels. If you book these items together, you can save more than if you book them individually. You can reserve any combination of what you need – there are options for flight/car, flight/hotel, hotel/car, etc. So, consider booking a package deal the next time you travel.
5: Join reward programs.
There are so many of these available now. Hotel programs (i.e. Starwood), car rental programs, and frequent flier programs can save you a lot of money in the long run. Even if you don’t travel that often, why waste the opportunity to earn points/miles towards your next trip? These programs are free to join, and before you know it, a free flight or hotel night will be within reach. I can’t tell you how much money we’ve saved on trips because of reward programs.