Looking to save on holiday travel? You can get out of town over Thanksgiving, Christmas and even New Year’s without paying a massive premium on every service from airport parking to hotel rates with a little pre-planning. Take a look at our tips on saving on travel during the holidays, and don’t forget to pin the infographic for a reminder!
1. Book between September and mid-October for the best holiday rates. Historically, hotels and airfare tend to go up in price after this time period. Since Thanksgiving and Christmas travel dates are reliably high-demand, it’s unlikely you’ll find last-minute sales.
2. Travel on or close to the actual holiday. Most people travel in the days before and after holidays, trying to stretch out their family vacations. If you can spend Thanksgiving or Christmas Day in the air, airfare is usually lower due to lack of demand. Can’t manage the day itself? Look for dates right around the holiday and compare prices with dates further out.
3. Look at Europe for holiday deals. Many Europeans stay home for the holidays, giving a great opportunity for deals. Although you’ll still pay for the privilege of Christmas in Paris or London, there’s a whole continent to explore, so think big! Combine your holiday vacation with a warm-weather getaway by choosing southern Spain. Or take advantage of the slow season in Italy with a trip to Rome or Venice (or both).
4. Take advantage of package pricing. Booking your hotel and air together can yield amazing savings, especially during the holidays. The New York Times has reported the average savings on a hotel/flight package is $540. Some travel experts say they’ve saved so much on package air, they book it even when they don’t need the hotel! (We still think you’ll find some wonderful hotel options on our vacation packages, though.)
5. Use public transit or an airport shuttle. Plan ahead to make sure you’re getting to the airport early during peak travel times, and double-check your favorite airport’s parking rates. Some parking services and airport lots raise rates at the holidays, in anticipation of high demand. If you find a big jump in price, it might be more cost-effective to use an airport shuttle or cab service… just book ahead to avoid stressful delays!
6. Exchange gifts at home… and pack light. If you’re traveling at Christmas, it might be tempting to bring along gifts for the big day. But if you’re taking advantage of the most value-priced flights, you’ll probably run into weight restrictions on your luggage… and they can cost you! Don’t get sticker shock at the check-in counter — leave those gifts at home and commit to packing light. Don’t forget that if you do bring gifts, the TSA will cheerfully unwrap them for you, so skip the wrapping paper.
Got all that? Don’t worry — we put all the tips together on one handy infographic! Pin it to your travel board and when you’re ready to start planning, we’ll be right there with you.
Looking for somewhere to go? Check out these blog posts for ideas on fantastic holiday travel destinations.