11.13.2013

How to Save on the Holiday's Part 4: Travel

We are at the end of our Holiday Savings Series Journey and for that I had to ask the expert of all things travel..our lovely co-contributor Stephanie! Since she is a military wife traveling is the in her back pocket.

First! If you missed the other part of the series check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 so you can get the big picture!







Traveling any time of year can be stressful. Whether you’re driving or flying, the cost of travel can add up quite quickly! Here are just a few tips on how to cut the cost:


1. Book flights in advance. Approximately 4-6 weeks before a major holiday (Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas for example) the ticket prices begin to increase drastically. So book as soon as you possibly can to get the best price. And with that in mind book on Tuesdays at 3pm to get the CHEAPEST ticket for the season!


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2. Pack Light. The price of checked luggage has increased drastically from the first time I visited an airport. At $25 or more per bag, you can quickly put in over $100 for getting your clothes home. So, pack light. Be sure to pack only the necessities when traveling. If the destination has a washing machine and dryer then pack half the items you would need for the duration of the trip and wash them while visiting. Check out some youtube videos on how to actually pack clothes utilizing the suitcases space, and be sure to pack more than one person’s items per bag. If you want to avoid checking luggage altogether then remember to check the airport’s guidelines for carry on items. Most flights allow 2 carry on items- One duffel or small suitcase, one laptop bag.


3. Credit Card Reward Points. Some of us have debt in areas like credit cards. And as much as it does stink to look at the balances, turn it into a positive. Most credit cards now offer rewards points. When utilizing these points you can book flights at a discounted price, and get gas cards to utilize while driving from point A to point B. This can help cut down on the immediate cost associated with traveling.


4. Breath. I have been traveling around quite a bit considering our military lifestyle. Between flights and driving it can be really stressful, especially with children. Remember to BREATH. Instead of settling for the first flight listed, explore your options and see if there may be a cheaper option if leaving at a different time of day. Leave with plenty of time to get to your destinations. Pre-planning can allow you set up meals and snacks to pack instead of buying, overpriced at the gas stations or airports. Pre-planning can help to alleviate some of the problems you may encounter. Do your research and always remember to be flexible as things can pop up unexpectedly!


A few other brief tips if driving:
- Have your vehicle serviced to ensure proper tire pressure, oil levels and windshield washer fluid.
- Be sure to have an emergency kit in case something may happen while travelling.
- Be sure to have a First Aid kit just in case.
- Snacks and drinks in small coolers within reach are the easiest ways to keep everyone happy and full on the trip. (And also help to stay on a diet or within budget).
- If driving a long distance be sure to take breaks and stretch your legs. Be sure to keep an extra designated amount in case you need to stop and sleep at a hotel for a bit. Sometimes just a few hours at a rest stop can help you recharge, other times you may want to plan on sleeping for a longer period of time at a motel or hotel. Remember $50 or 6 extra hours travelling is worth the peace of mind, that you are well rested to continue on the journey.


A few other brief tips if flying:
- Arrive early to make it through ticketing, security and to find your gate.
- Be sure to follow the liquid rules. If traveling with an infant remember that you can have formula, food, and premixed bottles. Remember to check the TSA website for more information. This will save time and stress when you are preparing and implementing the plans.
- Pack snacks for yourself. Granola bars and food is allowed. However, drinks are not. If you can make it through the wait to board the plane, most flights provide a drink cart halfway through the flight for free. If not, be prepared to spend money on drinks for the family.
- Finally, be sure to check your layover times. If you miss your connector then sometimes there will be a fee to book another flight.



**In general, if you are traveling somewhere over the holidays and require an abundance of presents to get to the destination, consider shipping the presents directly to that location once purchased. It will eliminate the “packed car syndrome” or the chance of losing it mid-flight. **



If you have any other tips for traveling OR you would like more information feel free to comment below!