By STEVE NITZ
It’s already that time of year again. Thanksgiving and Black Friday are now in the past, and the weather is starting to turn colder and the snow will soon be on its way. The holiday season is here.
With the holidays come a lot of shopping, eating and mingling with friends. For many Americans, it also involves plenty of travel. Unfortunately, travel can also mean dishing out a lot of money. When adding travel to presents and the cost of meals, money can get tight. However, you shouldn’t let the thought of shelling out hundreds of dollars in travel make you a scrooge.
Here are four ways holiday travelers can save money this season.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to book a flight
If you know your holiday destination, book your trip in advance to save money on airfare. If you haven’t already booked your holiday flight, do it as soon as possible and don’t wait until the week of Christmas when the rates really shoot up. There are several fare predictor tools you can use to know when tickets will be at their lowest. Kayak.com is one example.
- Don’t travel with gifts
With the holidays comes Christmas gifts. And with carrying your Christmas gifts on a flight comes more bags and extra fees . One option could be to consider shipping your gifts to your destination when making purchases online. Also , there’s always the option of gift cards, which you can easily carry on a flight without being charged for extra luggage.
- Don’t be afraid of flying early
No matter what time of the year it is, cost of flying is always going to be cheaper in the morning. It may not be the most convenient, but rolling out of bed for an early morning flight can be easier on your wallet and your stress level. .
- Avoid parking at the airport
Airport parking can really, really add up. Try working with a friend or family member and see if you can get a ride to the airport. Uber or Lyft are great options if you can’t find a ride. Fares are often much cheaper than taxis and definitely cheaper than leaving your car at the airport. Cities such as Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. also provide easy public transportation options to and from the airport. Another benefit of public transportation is you can avoid traffic due to the sheer amount of travelers, or the bad weather which can be common around December.
Planning ahead can save you a lot of hassle and keep your stress level to a healthy minimum. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by finances this holiday season, we can show you where to find help you can count on. Connect with an NFCC member agency near you to schedule a credit and budget counseling session today!