When the holiday season rolls around, many people look to visit their friends and family living in other parts of the country. However, the costs associated with flying can be tough to fit into many budgets.
That problem is even more magnified during the last few months of the year, when families are also trying to manage their holiday shopping.
With tight finances, a sudden medical expense or home repair bill could leave households looking for help with cash loans until they can get back on track. Here are a few ways to create some financial breathing room to avoid overstretching a budget.
The first way to save on holiday travel – particularly during a busy time – is to book well in advance. As popular travel dates approach, prices tend to rise dramatically.
One executive with the travel website Hotwire recently told FoxBusiness that last year, airfare prices for Thanksgiving week were 20 percent higher than non-holidays. Prices also started to increase more than a month ahead of the holiday.
Be Flexible With Dates
It can also pay to be flexible with travel dates, since there is higher demand for weekend flights. One travel expert told the site that traveling from Sunday to Sunday resulted in airfares that were roughly 32 percent higher than average.
For Thanksgiving, the cheapest time to fly out is Thanksgiving Day, and then returning the following Tuesday. While it may take up some additional time off from work, it can save 18 percent on airfares.
Be Smart With Bags
Another way to save money is to do your best to avoid the hefty bag fees charged by many airlines. Data released by the Bureau of Transportation found that during the first half of 2022, airlines in the U.S. took in more than $1.7 billion in bag fees alone.
You can help reduce those fees in one of two ways:
• Stick with carry-ons – Carry-on bags are still free on nearly every airline. So if you’re only going away for a couple days and can cram your stuff into that one bag you can avoid paying to check another suitcase.
• Buddy up – If you’re traveling with others, try to use just one suitcase for every two people. You’ll still have more space than your carry-ons would have allowed, but you’ll be cutting your bag fees in half.
You may also be able to relieve some pressure on your budget by looking to package services where you can.
For example, travel websites may offer heavy discounts if you purchase your airfare, hotel and rental car at the same time. An Expedia representative told FoxBusiness that buying all three services at the same time could give travelers discounts up to $500.
You also don’t need to limit yourself to those kinds of bundles. Many tourist spots sell museum or attraction tickets together, which can also save you money if you plan to hit multiple included locations.