You’ll be jingling all the way to the bank!
There’s nothing like the holidays for spending time with your favorite people. And sometimes, that means flying. But unless you have a sleigh, traveling during the holidays is notoriously pricey. Luckily, there are still plenty of deals to be found that can help you save money on holiday travel.
Ready to plan your holiday trip? We’ve got you (and your wallet) covered with these money-saving strategies!
First things first: before you spend any money on traveling over the holidays, do your homework. In this case, that means shopping around. Compare flights, hotel rooms, attractions, and anything else you’re planning on booking.
There are plenty of sites and apps that are dedicated to finding the cheapest travel options. Search through a few of them to make sure you get the best price.
Also, make sure you compare different airports (smaller airports = cheaper flights) and even look into different parts of the city for hotel rooms. A few blocks one way or another can save you $$$.
It may take some time, but your wallet will thank you!
Cash in on free rewards
The best way to save money on holiday travel? That’s easy: don’t spend money!
Now, we’re not suggesting you skip your holiday getaway. But before stretching your budget for hotels and flights, check your travel rewards programs. You may be able to score a few free nights or even a free flight (cha-ching!).
If you aren’t currently enrolled in any airline or hotel rewards programs, check in with your credit card companies. Some credit cards give you points on certain purchases, and you may be able to trade them in for travel, hotel stays, or even use them for an Airbnb.
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want! Some airlines and hotels will accept points from others, so you may be able to pool points from different programs and cash them in together.
Fly on the right days
You can’t help what day the holiday falls on, but you can decide which day you decide to fly. When you’re searching for flights, plug in a few different days to see what kind of price results you get.
Typically, the busiest travel days are the Thursday/Friday before a holiday and the Sunday/Monday after. So you guys will definitely want to avoid those if you want to save money on holiday travel!
Do you have unused vacation days that you can tack on to the holiday weekend? Or can you get there early and work remotely for a couple of days?
If you give your travel dates a bit of wiggle room, you’ll be able to find cheaper flights.
Get free travel insurance
Found the cheapest flight? Awesome! Bumped up the price with extras? Um, not so awesome!
One of these add-ons is travel insurance. And it’s a great thing to have—you never know when things’ll go sideways and it’s always better to be prepared!
Unfortunately, travel insurance isn’t cheap.
So before you book your flight, look into your credit card perks. Quite a few credit card companies provide free travel insurance when you use them to pay for your travels.
Choose the right car rental location
Most people who rent cars pick the location nearest the airport. But that holiday travel convenience comes at a price…
Picking your rental car up at the airport can cost you big-time in terms of added fees and even the dreaded “tourist tax” in some major cities. In fact, some reports claim that renting a car at the airport can add anywhere from 10% to 25% on top of your rental bill. Ouch!
A more budget-friendly option? Look at additional locations in your city of choice, then check out ride-share prices to get there from the airport. Depending on how long you’ll have the rental car, it may be significantly less expensive to Uber or Lyft to a nearby rental site and skip the airport rental.
We’ve saved the best for last! Here’s our fave way to save money on holiday travel: for less than the average cost of a checked bag, you can ship your holiday stuff to your hotel or Airbnb with LugLess.
Plus you don’t have to worry about making room in your suitcase for Christmas gifts or paying extra fees for an overweight bag—because hey, Ugly Christmas Sweaters aren’t light!
It’s not always easy to save money on holiday travel, but it’s definitely doable with these tips. And you can spend that extra cash in your holiday budget on whatever makes you merry!