With kids out of school and days off of work, the holidays are a popular time to travel. As a result, it can often be quite expensive. When you’re competing with hundreds or thousands of other people who want to travel at the same time as you do, you may think you have no leverage or options to get discounts on travels. Think again. There are a number of ways you can actually save big on your next holiday adventure.
The Dates You Travel Could Mean the Difference Between $100 and $1,000
Many people assume that plane fares during the holidays are always expensive, but the reality is that if you can be a bit flexible you could save literally thousands of dollars. For example, if you’re traveling over Thanksgiving, consider leaving a few days before or coming back a few days after the holiday weekend. Most people want to fly out Wednesday night and return Sunday night, so air fares are at their priciest on those days.
If you have the ability to actually travel on the holiday, then you could find even lower rates. Traveling on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day may not seem ideal at first, but if you can find a morning flight that will get you into town in plenty of time for dinner, then it may well be worth the hundreds of dollars in savings.
Considering a Longer Travel Time With Bigger Rewards
If you’re willing to be a little creative with the way you travel, then you could shave off even more on the cost of your trip. For example, if the destination you plan to visit has a very busy airport, then you might be able to find an alternative airport within a few hundred miles with a much lower airfare. You could then rent a car, take a bus, or find other transportation to your destination city. If you’re traveling with family or friends, these extra legs of your trip can be really great times to bond and check out some scenery you wouldn’t otherwise see.
Pre or Post Holiday Trips Can Be Quite Excellent
The cheapest times to travel in the entire year are the first two weeks in December and the first two weeks in January. This applies not just to airlines but to hotels, attractions, and everything else you budget into your trip. Why? Because everyone travels during the holidays, and few people want to ‘waste’ their vacation days so close to the holidays. This is a great option though if you want both small crowds and affordable prices.
Book Well in Advance or Wait Until the Last Minute
The vast majority of people – a full 73% – who are traveling during the holidays will wait until 3 weeks before the holidays to book their trips. This can make it difficult for airlines and hotels to accurately estimate their business during the busy times. As a result, they will frequently offer ‘early bird’ discounts to people who book several months in advance.
Likewise, when it gets to within a week of the holidays and there are still plenty of seats on flights available, or rooms at hotels, then the airlines and hotels start offering deep discounts to make sure they’re completely booked. Of course, this option does come with the risk of finding out everything is booked or spending significantly more if there are only a few flights or rooms left. If possible, book ahead of time, but if you find yourself thinking you might take a trip just a few weeks before the holidays, then it might pay off to wait a week or two to see if there are better deals to be had.
Guest author Sheila Worthington enjoys helping people save money, particularly in the area of travel & entertainment. One great way to create family memories is through a trip to a theme park. Six Flags Coupons are a great way to slash your costs.