With the holidays comes joy, pretty lights, delicious food, and much-needed (or dreaded) family time — and it can all take a toll on your bank account. One of the biggest holiday costs is travel, but there are plenty of ways to save on your holiday travel and accommodations.
Here are 10 tips that you can use to make it home for the holidays without overspending!
Tip 1: Ask Your Family
Ask your family to consider paying for your travel instead of buying you gifts (many of which you’ll probably end up returning anyway!). After all, the holidays are all about togetherness, right?
Tip 2: Check Rome2Rio and other Travel Websites
This website is a great way to search costs for all means of travel, whether it’s train, car, bus, or flight. When you search your destination, you’ll be given the approximate times along with costs, which will help immensely in planning your travel. By using this tool, you could find that taking the train home could be much less costly versus driving or flying.
Tip 3: Use Travel Apps that Locate Deals
Apps are now such a great resource to save money when traveling, whether you’re flying, driving, or needing a hotel. GetUpside is an app that aids in lowering your gas cost — it searches stations in your area that will give you cash back. Another app called Skyscanner pulls flights from all over the internet to help find you the cheapest airfare. Also, look into travel discount providers such as Expedia and Booking.com to find cheap hotels. Or consider getting an AirBnB or VRBO rental with other visiting family members to cut costs.
Tip 4: Stay With Family
The house may be filled with 15 people, you might have to sleep on the sofa, and there could be 0 privacy, but hey, don’t they say, “the more, the merrier?” It’ll be more fun and you’ll be able to spend all of your time with family and catching up, while also saving hundreds on hotel costs. That will more than cover a professional massage to undo the knots when you get back home.
Tip 5: Book Travel In Advance
Even the least expensive modes of transportation get pricey during the holidays, so make sure you plan ahead and book your travel in advance. Monitor your flight prices using the app Hopper or set a Google alert. Always purchase train and bus tickets early as these will likely sell out.
Tip 6: Avoid The Busy Travel Days
Try to be as flexible with your dates as you can. When you travel outside of the bustling holiday window, the cost will be much cheaper. Make sure you research your cost of travel ahead of time – if you have to leave a few days earlier, do it! You’ll save more and you’ll also get more vacation time! Woo hoo!
Tip 7: Carpool
If you’re in college, what better way to travel than to carpool with other people at your school? If they can at least get you part of the way, have them drop you off at a train or bus station to finish the commute. Start asking around in the weeks before break starts.
Tip 8: Eat Meals At Home
Instead of spending money on restaurant dinners for a ton of people, keep the gatherings at home. Search for budget-friendly recipes that will make great leftovers and that everyone will enjoy. You could also divvy up meals among each guest so it’s not only less expensive, but the workload is evenly distributed as well.
Tip 9: Throw A House Party
Whenever you go home, all of your friends will likely want to go out and party. Instead, throw a house party. Create a Facebook group where you can invite your friends and divvy up the supplies, food, and drinks. This will make for a much cheaper but still fun gathering!
Tip 10: Consider Buying 2 One-Way Tickets
If you have to fly, before you book a roundtrip ticket, search tickets from two separate airlines. For example, your departure ticket could be with American Airlines, but then consider a return ticket with United. The overall cost could end up being cheaper, helping you save money while traveling to your destination. Kayak calls this a Hacker Fare, and will search them for you automatically.
Home For The Holidays
By implementing these tips into your holiday travel, you could save hundreds of dollars! Not only do you get to make it home to see your family and friends, but you can sleep peacefully knowing you haven’t completely broken the bank. Just remember to always travel safely and smart.