The holiday season is definitely the most wonderful time of the year; you won’t find any argument there! But, when it comes to our wallets, our waistlines, and our crazy families, it’s also the most stressful time of the year. And if you live far away from your family or are planning on taking a holiday vacation, one of the most stressful parts of the holiday season is planning the trip.
And, it’s not just a question of getting time off work and navigating tricky winter weather. So if you’re dreaming of being at home this holiday season but don’t want your bank account to hate you, here are a few tips for keeping your holiday travel costs down.
Buy Your Plane Tickets on a Tuesday
It goes without saying that you should try to buy your tickets as far in advance as possible. But, did you know the day you buy them can also make a difference? . In fact, the website Farecompare.com actually did a study on this and found that the cheapest fares for U.S. domestics flights can usually be found Tuesdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. International tickets may vary, however.
Turn on Private Browsing When Searching for Your Tickets
Airline websites actually track the amount of times you visit their sites and type in your particular search. The more times you visit the site, the more they will increase the prices, because they get the idea that you’re dedicated to this trip. Solve this (and stick it to the man) by turning on your private browsing when you’re looking, so there are no traces of your previous searches. And clear your cookies!
Ask (Politely) For Small Gifts
Any holiday gifts you and your family receive will have to be carried home somehow, making things like gift cards or even online print-outs of something that was shipped to your house pretty appealing. Have a conversation with your loved ones about finding the best way to have a great holiday and still give each other everything you’d like to without forcing you to lug a giant bag home.
Do Your Shopping Online
You don’t want to have to check ten suitcases at the airport because you’re trying to bring the boots you bought your little sister and the golf clubs you bought your dad. Shop online and have the items shipped to your family’s house. If they open them before you get there? That's on them for spoiling the surprise.
Search for Nearby Airports
Many airline ticket search websites have an “include nearby airports” option. We highly recommend this, if you can swing it because you’ll often find better prices often at smaller airports, or the ones that are a bit farther away from major metropolitan areas. You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth $100 extra to get home early, or whether you can spare a few hours to save a few bucks, but at least it’s your decision and not the airline's.
The bottom line is, you’re blessed to be able to spend the holidays with the ones you love. It might be a bit of a financial stretch, but if you’re smart about it, you'll get to hug your family back home and you can still have some money left over for that adorable Christmas sweater you’ve been eyeing all season.