During the holidays it seems like everyone takes to the roads or the skies in an attempt to spend the day with family. If you’re one of the millions of people traveling this holiday season, there are a few things you need to know to save money on your holiday travel expenses. Read on to discover 5 ways to save on holiday travel.
1. Time your trip carefully
Whether you’re driving, flying or taking a train, timing makes a big difference in travel expenses. Plan your driving trip for off-peak hours and travel during weekdays if possible. Gas companies tend to raise prices during holiday weekends, which translates into an extra expense for you. Sitting idle in traffic can also eat up gas, especially if you have the heat going to keep the family warm.
For flying, use a site that allows you to be flexible with your dates of travel or talk to a travel agent. Often, the difference between flying on two different days can be $100 or more, so taking to the skies when the other travelers aren’t will yield big savings and much less of a headache at the airport.
Trains usually don’t fluctuate much in price, but booking early can ensure that you get the fastest trip. Some train services offer express trips a couple times a day, cutting out hours of travel time. Arriving during off-peak hours will also be welcomed by whoever picks you up at the train station.
2. Use coupons and promo codes
If you have any coupons or promo codes for travel, now is the time to use them. Just like you use coupons at the grocery store to save money, you can also use them online for discounted fares. During the holidays, many airlines offer coupons to their customers. Cash in on these rewards if you can. If the carrier you’re planning to use doesn’t offer any coupons, ask if they take competitor coupons or do price-matching and talk your way into a discount.
3. Purchase a package
Hotels, airfares and car rentals are often cheaper when booked as part of a package. Take advantage of package discounts to get the most for your money and take the headache out of planning your trip. Most sites and travel agents can put together a package for you, making this the easiest way to save.
4. Check gas prices online
With the soaring prices at the pump, more and more gas checking sites are appearing. Using one of these sites can help you locate the cheapest gas, saving you significant money. Use either Gasbuddy.com or AAA.com’s gas finding service.
5. Earn cash back on your travel expenses
Whether it’s airline miles or credit card bonuses, earning cash back on your travel expenses can help offset the blow to your wallet. Just be sure to use your rewards before they expire and you’ll be golden.
Travel during the holidays doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With the right planning and a little creativity, you can get to your destination without breaking the bank.