The other day, I told my husband that as soon as I make that last student loan payment, I’m purchasing a ticket somewhere as soon as cheaply possible. I love traveling, whether it’s a big city adventure, a cabin in the mountains, or road-tripping to a family reunion on a beach not as nice as the one I already live by (but truthfully, never doing that again).
The holidays are coming up and I know this is the time people start thinking about their travel plans, either to see family or get far, far away from them. When the holidays are vying for all the extra dollars in your budget, saving on travel is top priority. Whether you’re traveling to see family, or skipping out for a much-needed vacation, keep these tips in mind to save on travel to wherever you’re going. These tips can also be useful for holiday or summer travel, so save them for later and make frugality a habit in all your travels!
1. Book Airfare Through Sites Like Ebates
Did you know you can get cash back for booking travel and shopping on the sites you would’ve anyways? #FreeMoney! Expedia and Priceline offer up to 10% back on flights, hotels, etc. for booking through Ebates. If you’re buying any presents online (hi Cyber Monday), I’d definitely recommend clicking the site to see what you can get back.
2. Pack ~Light~
It’s 2016: you know that just about every airline charges a checked bag fee. Americans have probably spent enough on baggage fees to literally buy an airline. A $25 fee per bag — two ways — surely adds up!
So if you’re considering checking a bag, see if these hacks don’t cut down your travel mass: Ship gifts ahead of time if they can fit in a less-expensive, flat-rate box, or just send them directly there if you’re purchasing online. Pack dark pieces of clothing that can be worn with everything and don’t show dirt as well, and wear your bulkiest items on the plane (like boots and coats). And, bring as little of everything as possible.
3. Look Off The Beaten (Discount Airfare Website) Path
Southwest and Allegiant are famed for their discount airfare services. Southwest still lets you check two bags for free, and Allegiant flies to smaller airports that the big guys don’t. But seasoned travelers know you won’t find them on major sites like Travelocity or Priceline. Check multiple fare comparison sites, then compare those to Southwest and Allegiant. Remember, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. There are often major savings if you fly on Thanksgiving. And if you’re flying Allegiant, be sure to get there early; they don’t mess around with travelers who show up late.
4. Make It A One-Stop Shop
Also, if you were thinking a non-stop flight would help you save time and hassle, it’ll be at the expense of some dollars. Taking the route with stop(s) versus non-stop could save you around $100, or possibly even hundreds.
For those still not aware, Airbnb is an innovative concept that allows people to rent out a room, house, condo, etc. to other people. People love the privacy that you get as opposed to a hotel, and prices are usually very comparable to what you’ll find from the major chains. If your family is considering getting away this year, there are tons of options all over the world for big and small groups alike.
Airbnb does gift cards now, too. Hint hint, mom.
6. Ditch The Car Rental
With Uber and Lyft around, you can get to just about anywhere you need for less than renting a car (and no getting lost on unfamiliar roads while visiting your in-laws). But, if you really need a rental car, Enterprise has a $9.99 per day deal for weekends (that is valid on Christmas weekend!). It’s not good at airports, so factor in getting a ride or an Uber to the location to pick up the car when you’re comparing costs.
7. Pack A Lunch
Road tripping? Pack meals for the road, not just snacks you’ll mindlessly eat. Subs and wraps are hearty and will keep you from buying extra snacks when you stop for gas. Even better, you’ll avoid that gross road trip-belly feeling.
Whether you’re traveling near or far in the next few months, start saving now. Also, remember that sticking to your budget isn’t just for the days you’re at home. Prepare a separate trip budget that allows for a few pleasurable expenses, but keeps you from blowing it all in the first few days.
Jen writes about her and her husband’s journey to pay off $86,000 of debt in less than 2 years on her website, Saving with Spunk. Follow her on Twitter here!
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