Don't let money get in the way of you and your holiday travel plans.
The holidays are a great way to relax, spend time with loved ones, and (most importantly) eat! Okay, we're kidding. Eating may not be the most important on the list, but for many, the holidays mean travelling long distances to see family and friends. Some distances have to be made by flight, which can get costly very fast. Overall, whether you travel in the air or on the ground, the price tag can keep climbing. But, there is hope for your holiday travel plans on a budget! Keep reading for tips on how to get the best flight deals and other ways to save money during travel.
According to Hopper, a flight price estimator smartphone application, starting mid-November, the cost for flights will rise about $3 a day until Christmas. What does that mean for you? Book your flights as early as possible. Get as much of your holiday planning laid out as you can so you can start looking at and booking flights. Holiday flight prices are the most expensive 15 to 25 days prior to departure. Some say you need to book as early as Halloween or sooner to get the best prices on flights around the holidays. Moral of the story: get your tickets as soon as you know your holiday plans.
Compare Flight Times
Perhaps due to time restraints you have to travel on the more expensive days. You can still combat this by booking flights that are at times most travelers don't prefer (i.e. 5 am vs. 10 am). Late night or early morning flights are not only great ways to save money, but you can usually get through security lines quicker than usual because there are less people travelling at that time. You may be tired, but you can always curl up in your seat on the plane and relax for the rest of the flight!
Choose your Travel Date Wisely
This year, the cheapest travel schedule is departing Tuesday, December 18 and then returning on Christmas Eve. Of course for many of us, this disrupts our holiday plans with family or friends. If you don't want to affect the Christmas holiday, the next best return flight is Friday, December 28th. If you don't have far to travel and have evening plans for Christmas, considering traveling early morning on the holiday. According to Hopper, traveling on Christmas Day can save you about 22% on average!
Look at Other Airports
Depending on where you're flying in or out of, you may be able to have your pick of airport. In many larger cities, there are multiple airports that offer the flights you need. Price check the different destinations to see if you're getting the best deal or the right flight for your plans.
Consider Alternative forms of Travel
Depending on when and where you're traveling, it's sometimes not possible to consider any other travel option but flying. However, if you don't have to battle any barriers or boundaries for travel on land, you might want to consider driving or even finding a train. Just remember, many other travelers will be on the road too so be sure to allocate extra travel time, just as you would with flying.
Pack More than just Clothes
Whether you're taking on the open road or planning to soar the skies, there are still ways you can save on food expenses here and there. Some tips to save money while traveling are:
Pack SnacksI know it seems silly, but taking food from home vs. grabbing something from a gas station or at the airport can seriously save some bucks, especially with any long layovers or multiple stops on the road. Shoot for something like a granola bar or trail mix that will offer lots of nutritional value, keeping you fuller longer without taking up a lot of room or requiring refrigeration.
Speedy Cash Tip:
Remember that to take food on board a flight, it now needs to be taken out of your bag to go through security. Also be mindful to take items that don't need to be chilled. No liquids over 3.4 oz are allowed regardless of whether or not they're food items.
Drink UpSick of buying that $5 bottle of water in the terminal or at a rest stop? Aren't we all? If you're driving, make sure all passengers have a water bottle or two that are full and ready for the trip. If you're flying, there are no restrictions on taking empty reusable water bottles into the terminal and almost all airports have water fountains past security. Simply pack an empty bottle in your carry on and fill it up once you're past security.
Don't Overdo on Overnight Stays
Hotels can easily cost $200+ per night per room, but sometimes overnight stays are unavoidable. Consider all your options before booking a room during your travel. The cheapest option when needing to stay overnight somewhere, whether during your travels or while staying put for the holiday, is to stay with relatives, friends, or loved ones for free (or maybe buy them a bottle of wine or two for their troubles). If this is not an option based on location, try looking for alternatives to hotels like bed and breakfasts or try booking on a website that is known to give special deals on rooms. If you would instead like to make a reservation directly with the establishment, try calling and booking over the phone. Sometimes a representative can give you a better deal, especially if they know you made the effort to call. Mention your price point and see what they say - worst thing they can do is say no.
Safe travels from your friends at Speedy Cash!