How to save on holiday travel

by | Dec 1, 2022 | Opinion

Despite costs rising and inflation, it is actually quite possible to dip your toes in the ocean and bake in the sun at an affordable cost. By following these seven ways, you’re bound to save money for the holidays in no time.

1.   Book early

The key is to book trips early, and that includes flights and hotels. Travel demand will only go up as the holidays loom closer. According to Expedia flight data for Thanksgiving 2022, people who booked on a Monday or Tuesday received cheaper flights than those who booked on Thursday and Friday. Airfare prices dropped by a couple hundred dollars just by changing the departure day.

2.   Open a travel friendly bank account

Another great way to save is by having the right credit card. You can either use a cash back credit card or a travel rewards card.

Cash back credit cards

A cash back credit card is where you get a percentage of your purchases back in dollars. Certain cards like Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card are a top pick for travelers. They offer a five percent cashback on hotels and car rentals. Pretty sweet deal.

Travel rewards credit cards

This card can help you cut travel costs by earning points and miles that you can later use for booking travel. Travel reward cards are a great option for those wanting to save money in the long run. They come with perks like a free checked bag, dining credits and room upgrades. Cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve or Platinum Card American Express offer access to the airport lounge, super nice to have especially when waiting for a long layover flight. However, there are annual fees over $500 so, it’s not for everyone. It depends on how frequently someone travels and would benefit from it.

3. Pack light

Packing light is probably one of the greatest and easiest ways to save money while traveling. Luggage fees can be crazy high–on average, $45 per checked bag. considering $45 per flight for each checked bag on average. However, if you pack light and just bring a carry-on, it’s usually free.

There are other options that should be considered. You could also ship a medium sized bag for $35. This is great if you have a bunch of gifts to bring but don’t want to haul them all the way around the airport. Or you can open a co-branded airline credit card that allows you to have a free checked bag.  

4.   Consider alternate means of transportation

While taking a flight is convenient depending on the location, taking a train or driving can always be a great alternative option. Road tripping can be just as fun. As well, the airport takes so long. Going through security, waiting in lines and waiting to board means that taking a train or driving can potentially save you some time. It can also help you save money in comparison to buying a flight.

5.   Give WiFi-to-go a Go

Crazy enough, you can get little rental mobile routers. You can reserve one and pick it up at the airport or have it sent to your hotel. Super convenient for traveling.  This will save you from international roaming charges. There’s nothing worse than coming home from a trip to a monstrous phone bill that could have been avoided with better planning.

6.  Go big at lunch

Plan to eat your big meal at lunch. Many restaurants have similar menu items for dinner and lunch. However, lunch is usually always a little cheaper. You could also consider going to a buffet that is usually priced better than other places.

7.   Rely on locals

It could be as simple as talking to your Airbnb host or a bartender. Hands down, locals know where the best spots in town are. If you’re trying to find a good place to get a massage or where to take your family for breakfast for the holidays, they know all the secrets. On top of it, it’s way cheaper to do it that way than booking a tour with a tour guide. Getting advice from locals is free!

The bottom line

With being a student, it can be hard to decide to travel during the holidays when the money is tight, but with the right planning, anything is possible. We all need a break. A semester with hard work put in deserves a reward of enjoying life this holiday season.

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