Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and that means holiday travel season is upon us! One of the most stressful things about holiday travel can be the cost associated with it. Don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do while planning your holiday travel that will help you get to where you want to go without breaking the bank.

Plan Ahead

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A good way to start the money saving process is to plan ahead. Figure out what days you can take off from work around the holidays and how long you can stay in your destination. This will give you some flexibility when choosing your departure and return dates and allow you time to be a savvy fare and lodging shopper. Another thing to consider is that flights tend to be cheaper when you travel on the actual holiday itself. At first glance, a Thanksgiving morning red eye may not sound like the most appealing option, but it could save you hundreds of dollars. You may also want to consider secondary or smaller airport locations near your destination. Sometimes it can be less expensive to fly into a different airport within the same or a nearby city. More people tend to travel around the holidays, so planning in advance is the best way to get the flight patterns you want at the price you need.

Travel Light

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Most airlines charge for checked baggage these days. One way to avoid these extra costs is to limit yourself to a carry-on bag and a personal item (which are both free for most airlines). Avoid over-packing by thinking through each day of the trip and packing exactly what you’ll need. Will you be able to do laundry where you’re staying? Even better. Wearing your coat and boots on the flight can save precious room in your carry-on bag. Only bringing a carry-on will also save you time at the airport, since you can check in online and avoid the baggage counter altogether. If you are checking bags, be sure to purchase them online before the day of the flight to get the best price. If you need to transport holiday gifts to your destination, consider mailing them ahead of time instead of checking (and paying for) an extra bag.

Pack Your Own Snacks

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If you ever review your expenses after a trip, you might be shocked by how much you spend on food and beverages at airport terminals (and on airplanes when you get hungry mid-flight). One way to avoid this is to visit the grocery store the day before you leave and stock up on tasty treats for the airport and on the flight. (Remember that you’ll have to jettison liquids over 3.4 oz before you go through security, so it’s best to purchase your beverages at the terminal.) A word of advice if you’re anything like us: Pack more snacks than you think you’ll need.

Do you have any tried and true tips when it comes to saving money on holiday travel? Let us know in the comments section.

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About The Author

Jen Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing (www.luciditewriting.com) and Bouchard Design Co.