How to Save on Last-Minute Holiday Travel
Whether you’re being pressured by family to make it home for the holidays or you’re just burned out and need a change of scene, it’s not too late to save on holiday travel. The key is to be flexible regarding the days, times, modes of transportation and lodging you choose. Here are five ways to help get where you’re going during the holidays without going broke:
Planes, Trains and Automobiles — It’s not just the title of a classic holiday travel film. It’s actually a way to save money when you travel. If you’re willing to be flexible about how you reach your destination, you could save a lot by traveling via bus, train or even by sharing the costs of a road trip. If you live near a university, there are always students looking to defray expenses by either hitching a ride with someone or letting an extra passenger ride along.
Shop Across Platforms — When you’re searching for the lowest possible rates, it pays to sign up for both text and email alerts from the major travel discount sites, since they often have different deals available through different channels. Additionally, you’ll want to conduct your search on more than one browser, since different browsers can yield different prices for the same sites.
Get on the Phone — And by that, we mean, actually make a call and talk to another human being. This is especially effective when searching for a last-minute hotel room. You’ll have your best luck if you start calling your chosen hotel in the late afternoon after they’ve tallied up their cancellations for the day. Empty rooms mean lost revenue, and they’d rather have them filled — even at a deep discount — so there are often rooms available at a fraction of their usual rate.
Travel on the Holiday — It might not be your first choice, but when saving money is the goal, traveling on the holiday itself can net you savings of 25-50 percent on airfare. In addition to saving on the cost of your ticket, you’ll breeze through security quickly and likely have a lot of room to stretch out on the plane.
Be Flexible About Airports — If your destination has more than one major airport, be sure to check the airfares coming into and flying out of both. Though they might be only a few miles apart, the price differences between the two can be significant.