Saving Money while Traveling for the Holidays
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 21, 2009)
Have you noticed how the cost of traveling seems to be more and more like Superman? Stop and think about it for a minute. What I mean by this analogy is that nothing seems capable of stopping the rising costs associated with visiting friends and family who are abroad. After all, this already costly expense seems to be soaring higher than a bird, and then there is the fact that these costs seem to be bullet proof. After all, not even an act of Congress seems to be able to stop it.
Luckily, you are not going to need any green kryptonite in order start saving money while traveling for the holidays. Instead, all that you need to do is start early and use these guidelines. If you do this, then you are soon going to be moving around faster than a speeding bullet yourself, and doing it with the lowest possible prices.
- Plan ahead. If you are going to be flying then you are going to want to book your flights as early as possible. Typically, the earlier you book your flights then the lower the price is going to be. Strangely though, there are some companies that sell their flights at a severely discounted price if purchased at the last minute. (It has something to do with how they would rather make some money rather than none.) However, this option is usually more risky (in that it doesn't always pan out) and is not something that should be done when traveling with families.
- Alternate. The best way to alternate holiday traveling is to take turns each year as to where you go. An example of this would be how for Thanksgiving one year you go to your parent's home, and for Christmas you go to your spouse's parents. The following year you switch off, and the third year everyone can come to your house for the holidays.
- Compare. If you are not going to be staying at your relatives home when visiting, try going online to places like Priceline.com and Hotels.com. These companies are typically a great cleaning house for being able to get great deals. The best way to get what you want though, is to use the prices (go with the lowest one that you can find) and then contacting the hotel, airline, or car rental agency directly and see if they would be willing to match the price. Often, since these places are only going to be getting a percentage of the lower rate, they are going to be more than willing to match the price—since that means they would be getting more money directly.
- Hotels. When deciding on the hotel that you are going to be staying at, choose one of the hotels that include a breakfast. Quite often, breakfast is going to be the most expensive meal of the day (for many people this is their largest meal, and therefore the most expensive) and if it is a complimentary part of your stay at the hotel, then you are going to be saving more money on your traveling expenses.
- Drive. If at all possible, when you are traveling avoid flying and instead go with driving. While it might take a little longer in time, it is going to save you some money. Believe it or not, even though automobile gasoline seems to be getting more and more expensive, it is nothing compared to the expense of airline fuel which is passed on to you in higher ticket prices and fewer amenities.
- Pack it. When you are going on road trips, instead of stopping and getting your meals at various restaurants along the way, pack them along with you. Bringing your own food is going to save you a bundle and you can be sure to always have what you like with you. In fact, many times children are going to find this an enjoyable experience and something akin to an adventure.