Now that the pandemic is winding down, people are choosing to travel for the holidays again. But, just like everything else, it can get costly. When you are flexible with your travel dates, use a credit card that offers travel insurance and find the cheapest car insurance, you’ll have plenty of money left over for holiday gift giving and scrumptious meals.
Opt for Off-Peak and Off-Time
Choosing to travel on the days and times when most people aren’t has many advantages. First, there are fewer crowds, less traffic, less waiting and less frustration. Secondly, if you’re flying, going on a Monday or Tuesday as opposed to a Thursday or Friday will save you money. For Thanksgiving, people usually head out the Wednesday before and return on that Sunday. To save yourself some hassle, travel on Monday or Tuesday and head back a week later.
Rent Out Your Space
You’ll be gone for the holidays so why not rent out your own space? There are a number of platforms to use such as VRBO, AirBnb and Home Exchange so the odds are good that you’ll find someone who is traveling to your location at the same time you’re traveling out of town. Who knows, you could end up making money on the deal!
Trade out a Hotel Stay for a Home
And, just as you might be renting out your own digs, you’ll save some money by choosing AirBnB, as well. Opt for one of the Superhosts, as they have the highest ratings and you can count on a great experience. Overall, if you’re staying for just a few days to a week and traveling with the entire family, the freedom and privacy of an actual home far outweighs staying in a hotel.
Subscribe to Travel Newsletters
The holidays are closing in but they’re still far enough away to do some planning ahead. By subscribing to travel newsletters, you’ll be alerted of last minute travel deals that could save you some big money. You will have to be flexible with your travel dates and times, but in the end it will likely be well worth it.
Eat In & Eat Local
Granted, the holidays are all about food. So chances are good you’ll be spending a lot of meals at a table with friends or family. But for those meals that you are grabbing on your own, find local spots instead of tourist spots to save yourself a little cash. Also, perusing the local markets to fix a quick meal at your AirBnB will keep you from overspending on food.
Track Your Spending with an App
When you’re working within a budget, you want and need to be held accountable to be certain you aren’t spending more than you intended. Using an app like Trail Wallet , Expensify or You Need a Budget will help keep you within your pre-established financial lines. People notoriously overspend over the holidays and when you’re traveling it’s even easier to do because the rationale is that you’re “on vacation” and it’s okay to splurge. While that might be a little bit true, overspending too much will lead to a rough financial new year.
Take Pictures Instead of Buying Souvenirs
Yes, it might seem radical! But pictures are free and you can take a lot of them, giving yourself the opportunity to create collages, posters, framed pictures, picture books, etc. when you arrive back home. Souvenirs cost money, take up room in your luggage and home, and may quickly lose their novelty after a month or two.
Research Free Entertainment Available
Wherever you are traveling for the holidays, domestic or abroad, do your research ahead of time for free or close-to-free entertainment for you and your family. Museums, zoos, art galleries, parks, beaches, historic buildings and other venues are often very inexpensive to visit and will give you a closer more intimate look at the city you are visiting.
Work While You Travel
If you’re able to work remotely take advantage of this by spending a few hours working over your trip. More and more jobs are offering the ability to work remotely so if you’re not sure, talk to your supervisor about it beforehand. It might open the door to an even more flexible schedule come the new year!
The holidays are expensive. Between meals, entertaining, gift giving and travel the expenses can really add up. When you plan ahead you can be strategic with your schedule and your finances.