With the holidays right around the corner, you should start thinking hard about your traveling spending. We all love to visit friends and family during that magical time of year, but the money you’ll spend on plane tickets, hotel stays, rental cars and holiday gifts add up fast.
The good news is that there are a ton of ways for you to save money while traveling this holiday season. Check out our list of top 7 ways to make your dollar stretch a little further so you can enjoy spending time with your family, without worrying about breaking the bank.
1. It pays to be flexible on your travel dates
Historically, Friday is the most expensive day to travel during the holidays, especially around Christmas time. Because this date is in such high demand amongst travelers, you can easily end up spending 20% more on average for airfare.
Being flexible can save you big bucks. For example, flying out on a Monday instead of Friday or catching an early morning flight can help you save a significant amount of money on your trip.
2. Download fare tracking apps
With hundreds of airfare and hotel options available, it can be challenging to find and track the best deal. There’s nothing worse than booking your trip and realizing that the price decreased after completing your purchase.
Booking apps monitor ticket and hotel prices using complex algorithms to determine if you’re getting a fair price. These apps can also alert you when the price is about to increase or decrease so that you don’t miss out on getting the best deal possible for your hard-earned dollars.
3. Take advantage of cashback rewards
Don’t miss out on the various cashback rewards offered by your credit card company for your holiday spending. Missing out on these deals is like flushing money down the toilet….it just doesn’t make sense! When signing up for new credit cards, be on the lookout for those that offer rewards programs that let you earn cashback for your purchases.
You can use these extra funds to buy gifts for the kids, buy a plane ticket to see your favorite cousin in Minnesota or redeem cash offers for things like gift cards, cash, or credit to apply towards your next statement balance.
4. Always travel light
Baggage fees can easily tip anyone’s budget. Rather than spend hundreds of dollars to check luggage, pack light for your trip with just a carry-on or one checked bag whenever possible. Ship your gifts ahead of time instead of bringing them with you on the plane. Trust us–your wallet will thank you later!
5. Opt-out of airport parking
Airport parking fees tend to shoot through the roof around the holidays. Travelers can save some major dough by skipping airport parking altogether and instead book a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. The fee for your ride will likely be less expensive (and more convenient) than parking your own car and having to wait for airport shuttle service.
6. Look for deals on train rides
In some cases, you can save a whole lot of money on your trip by traveling via train. You can also save a lot of time by not having to wait in long security lines at the airport.
7. Check for activity discounts
Once you arrive at your destination, you can wind up spending a ton of money on activities for you and the family. And since it’s the holidays, don’t be surprised to find that prices have been jacked up since it’s the peak season.
Although prices for some of your favorite activities may be right outside of your budget, you can look for ways to save money on the things you enjoy. Remember this golden rule: NEVER PAY FULL PRICE FOR ANYTHING! The Groupon app, for example, let’s you find great deals on holiday activities at a discounted rate.
Also keep in mind that during the holiday season, prices on some of your items can drop dramatically. There’s nothing worse than finding out that the price for a product you just purchased dropped just a few days later.
However, apps like Paribus sync with your email to monitor your account for order confirmations and watches out for price drops on the items you recently bought. If the price drops, Paribus will immediately contact the retailer for a price adjustment on your behalf, and send you a refund on the difference. Throughout the holiday season, this could potentially save you hundreds of dollars.
Do your wallet a favor this year by implementing these 7 budget-friendly holiday travel tips. Not only will you save tons of money, but you’ll also save a whole lot of time, and have a holiday vacation that the entire family can enjoy. Make fun a part of your budget! That means if you have a trip planned in the next few months, find ways to save on things like gas, hotel stays, restaurants and flights BEFORE the holidays arrive.
Planning ahead ensures that you’ll enjoy your trip from beginning to end, without suffering post-holiday blues the next time you check your bank account.
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