The holiday season is here, and many people would like to save money on travel and be with their families or just go to a holiday in a far-off place to unwind. However, traveling during this holiday season can be strenuous on your budget. In particular, airfares, especially around Christmas and Thanksgiving, can be totally outrageous.
And, the closer it gets to these holidays, the higher the prices tend to be. But this does not mean that you will go bankrupt just to get home and be reunited with your family if you have not already booked your flight.
There are some useful strategies that can help you tame the cost of flight. Also, in case you will not be staying at home, there are plenty of tips that you can use to get deals on hotel rooms. They include the following:
#1 Book your flight right away
Travel experts recommend that the best time to book a flight is 21 days before traveling. After the expiration of that window, prices will tend to steadily rise. This means that for Thanksgiving, you ought to have booked your flight already.
To get the best travel rates for Christmas, just sign up to Trip Watcher. It will help you track the flight that you are interested in taking as well as get a notification in case there is a price drop. If you can find a deal on the flight that sounds good, you need to book it before it is gone.
However, you should not just stop there. After buying the ticket, keep your eyes on the fare since most airlines as well as major travel agencies will tend to offer their clients a rebate especially if the price drops under what you paid. This is normally in credits or travel vouchers.
By signing up to Yapta.com, you will be able to get alerts in case there is a price drop on the flight that you booked. However, you need to note that there are certain airlines that charge hefty penalties for re-booking the flight in order to get lower fare. In case the fees being charge exceeds the rebate, it would be pointless to make any change.
#2 Avoid traveling on peak travel days
According to experts, the days you should avoid traveling on are Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as well as the Sunday after. If you are trying to save money on travel, you should know that these are the most expensive days. For instance, the cheapest roundtrip flight fare from Chicago going to Atlanta, and which departs on November 27th-a day prior to thanksgiving- and due back on 1st of December, is $353.
This is per the information from Kayak.com. However, by just making a slight change on your travel date, and that means traveling on 26th and returning on 30th November, you will be able to find a flight at $304 for the same route. If you fly on the Thanksgiving Day and return on 2nd of December, chances of paying less than $300 are very real.
- When traveling for Christmas, experts recommend that you avoid traveling on the eve of Christmas since it is among the most expensive days to travel.
- To know the best days to travel this holiday season, you can check out the CheapAir.com calendar.
- Also, you can make use of flexible search options on sites that deal with travel bookings, like the ones at Kayak.com or Bing Travel as they can help you determine days that have the cheapest fares.
#3 Delay booking your hotel room
Despite the fact that flights are packed during holidays, this is not always the case with hotels, the reason being that a good majority of people want to be around their families during these times. As opposed to airfare, hotel prices will generally tend to drop as we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Tips for saving money on travel:
- Where possible, hold off booking a hotel room until the very last minute. Chances are that hotels are likely to drop their prices in a bid to fill rooms. You could score very big here.
- If not, book a hotel room using Tingo. This will rebook tour room automatically at a lower price should the hotel decide to reduce its prices. You can expect to get refunded for the difference.
#4 Find deals using social media
By using the social media, it is possible for travelers to land time-limited deals on hotel rooms and flights.
- Follow twitter feed and Facebook pages of sites which normally highlight various deals across different hotel chains and multiple carriers. These include sites like Expedia, Hotwire and Airfarewatchdog.
- In case you happen to have a particular hotel or airline, you just have to follow its Facebook and twitter pages.
- Twitter hashtags #TTOT (which stands for Travel Talk On Twitter) and #TravelTuesdays, can give you clues on discounts on accommodations and flights.
#5 Ship your luggage
In case you are unable to fit your entire luggage into one carry-on bag, it means you will be paying for them separately. If you are traveling on SouthEast Airlines, which allow you to carry two bags for free, there won’t be a problem. Otherwise, prepare to part with a minimum of $25 to cater for the baggage fees.
- Ship your luggage in advance using the national couriers like UPS, FedEX or even the U.S. Postal services as opposed checking with your luggage on the plane.
#6 Watch out for fees
After spending lots of time tracking the cheapest fares on flights, you need to ensure that your efforts and attempt to saving money on travel are not undone by hefty fees that some airlines charge when you fly.
- In order to avoid paying much more than what is necessary, you need to know what airlines charge as well as how much.
- You can get lots of help by checking out Airfarewatchdog airline fee guide or TravelNerd airline fee tool.
#7 Avoid getting hit with extra fees if you will be staying at a hotel
To avoid these, you first have to know the amenities that hotels will add fees when you use.
Find out the annoying hotel services that attract unnecessary fees and avoid them. They include:
- Wi-Fi fees
- Early check-in fees
- Parking fees
- Telephone surcharge
- Spa gratuity and
- Gym fee among other fees
- Avoid them if you can
#8 Keep your celebration between the period of Thanksgiving and Christmas
If you travel between the holidays, you will be able to make a lot of saving because, as research shows, these times are the lowest points of the winter/fall travel season. Most hotels and airlines tend to lower their prices so as to attract revelers during this off-peak period.
You therefore need to convince your family to gather between the period of Thanksgiving and Christmas as opposed to during the holidays themselves.
Just because it is holiday season does not mean you have to pay twice for normal services or give up saving money on travel. All you need is being a little bit smarter and you can actually save lots of money in this holiday season. The above are some of the money saving tips that will get you the best services while keeping some dollars in your pockets.