Stress-free holiday travel: easier said than done, right?
Considering that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s represent the busiest days to to travel year after year, navigating the airways can be difficult when you’re scrambling to make plans alongside millions of equally excited travelers. However, finding a bargain on a holiday flight can be a headache, as ticket prices shoot up as much at 75% during the winter.
If you’re expected to visit friends and family but are stuck on a shoestring budget, fear not. There’s no need to sacrifice your holiday season, but rather plan smarter and make the most of what you are willing to spend.
Think that flying is out of the question? Think again.
Instead, take advantage of planning ahead and consider the following tips that can work for just about anyone on a tight travel budget.
Scour the Web for Deals
Travel deals are especially difficult to spot during the holiday season; however, it is possible to a snag a cheap flight if you book far enough in advance. Likewise, remain vigilant and scour the web for deals every few hours to see if anything new pops up.
Bear in mind that you’re already ahead of the game by not waiting a week or two before your tip, but don’t put yourself in a bind by banking on an unrealistic deal. Rather than get left out in the cold, think about other ways you can save on your plane ticket: for example, you may be able to get cash back by booking your flight before the last minute.
Choose the Cheapest Flight Times
Finding the best deals often means that you can’t be picky. As noted earlier, flight costs skyrocket during the holiday season; however, you can bring costs down by flying on specific dates or during hours that are deemed by many as inconvenient.
Many thrifty travelers fly on Christmas Day or take a red eye flight as means of keeping some cash in their pockets. While such times may indeed by inconvenient for you, they may allow you to save you enough money to actually make your trip happen. You could even take a look at something like these cheap flights from Globehunters if you are interested in finding cheaper flights at a more reasonable time.
The Indirect Approach
Another classic way to make the most of your budget is by taking a more “indirect” approach to flying. How so?
- Mix up airlines over the course of your trip (for example, it may be cheaper to fly Delta one way and United upon your return)
- Book a flight with a layover, which many travelers view as undesirable
- Fly out of a smaller, alternative airport: even if it’s out of the way, it may save you in the long-run
While such arrangements may not be ideal, they could potentially save you hundreds of dollars over the course of your trip.
When it comes to traveling on a budget, take a “less is more” approach to packing your bags. After all, some airlines charge for any checked bags or carry-ons larger than the size of a purse; meanwhile, others charge by the weight of your luggage. Ideally, you can stay with a friend or family member who can take you to go buy whatever you need once you get there. If you’re going on a particularly long trip, consider shipping items such as clothing to your destination ahead of time.
Traveling over the holidays on a budget is possible, granted you know where to look for savings. By starting early and understanding the hidden costs of holiday travel, you can make your next trip a reality