Holiday Travel: Try These 7 Tips To Save Money

Children, traveling together, waiting at the airport to board the aircraft.
tatyana_tomsickova / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Traveling will be expensive this holiday season due to high prices for everything from gasoline to airline tickets, but a lot of people seem determined to do it, anyway. Nearly half of consumers (47%) plan to travel over the holidays, according to a report from PwC, with more than two-thirds (69%) expected to do so by car.

Getting behind the wheel might be a smart move considering that average airfares over Thanksgiving 2022 are expected to be 24% higher than last year, Fortune reported, citing data from travel booking app Hopper. Average airfares around Christmas are expected to be up 53% year-over-year.

The average gasoline price in the United States looks like a relative bargain at $3.76 a gallon as of Nov. 15, 2022, up about 11% from the same time last year.

Even with the high prices, many Americans seem ready to hit the road this holiday season.

“Travel is booming, even with worries over costs, fear of losing luggage and flight delays,” Elad Schaffer, co-founder & CEO of Faye Travel Insurance, detailed in an email statement to GOBankingRates. “Based on the numbers, consumers still plan on traveling this holiday season and beyond.”

A recent survey from Faye found the top three ways U.S. travelers plan to cut travel costs: staying with friends/family to save on accommodations (37%), traveling during off-peak times (36%), and cooking at accommodations rather than eating out (36%).

Make Your Money Work for You

No matter how you decide to travel over the holiday season, here are seven tips that can save you money.

Book Flights Early

If you plan to travel by air, booking at least one month before a domestic flight or six months before an international flight can save you 10% on average on ticket prices, according to Expedia. That means if you plan to fly within the United States for Christmas, you need to book your flight soon.

Pick the Right Times and Days

Sunday is the best day to buy your airline ticket because you can save as much as 5% on domestic flights and 15% on international flights compared to typical Friday prices, Expedia noted. Wednesday is typically the cheapest day to fly, and departing before 3 p.m. greatly reduces the risk of canceled flights that could cost you both time and money.

Consider a Connecting Fight

These might be inconvenient compared to direct flights, but the savings can be as much as 50% off when choosing a non-direct route, WGNO reported.

Use Alternative Transportation

If you’re within a two-hour or so flight of your holiday destination, you can save money by driving or taking a bus or train. Your best choice depends on how many will be traveling with you. If you’re traveling with a large family, you might opt for a train because there’s room to spread out and walk around — and you have access to onboard bathrooms that reduce the need for frequent stops.

Make Your Money Work for You

Save on Gas With These Hacks

With gas prices still running much higher than normal, you should do everything you can to get the best mileage and prices. Ramsey Solutions recommends using cruise control when you can and keeping your tires properly inflated. To save on gasoline prices, download a gas app like GasBuddy, Gas Guru, Waze, AAA Mobile and Google Maps that let you track the lowest prices along your route.

Load Up on Snacks

Now matter your means of transportation, packing your own snacks and sandwiches will help you avoid having to spend money at restaurants — or on flight or train meals.

Stay With Friends or Family

Saving a couple hundred bucks or more a night by skipping the hotel is probably the best way to save money this holiday travel season. If friends or family offer to put you up, take advantage of it. If they don’t ask but you are comfortable enough with them to broach the subject, offer to return the favor when they travel to your neck of the woods.

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