Its officially that time of the year again, it’s holiday season! Soon enough we’ll be enjoying turkey and giving thanks, followed closely by gift giving and Christmas carols. Your holiday plans may include fun activities, but there are also a lot of not quite so fun parts of traveling during this busy season. Whether you are flying home, road tripping to a Friendsgiving, or perhaps going on a vacation, having the right travel tips and tricks could reduce stress and help you save on expenses. Here are six things to consider before making your holiday travel plans so that you can enjoy a little peace of mind this holiday season.
- Create a Budget
The first step in determining how much you can afford this holiday season is planning for it and determining the expenses that will occur. Before you start dipping into your emergency savings, figure out how you will get there and how much that will cost, where you will stay, and what you want to do while you’re there. Can you afford that flight, or would it be cheaper to drive? Do your research and shop around. In addition, don’t forget the little things. While airfare, gas, hotel, rental car, and/or food should all be at the top of your budget, don’t forget things such as ATM fees, tolls, coffee/snacks, etc.
- Travel During the Week
If you are able to adjust your plans, it can often times be cheaper to fly during the week. And if you’re road-tripping, then you’ll face less traffic on the road creating less stress. The date you actually travel could potentially save you money.
- Travel Light
Instead of spending a large amount of your budget on checked luggage, choose to travel light with just a carry-on or one checked bag, if you must. If this isn’t possible for you, consider shipping your gifts or excess luggage. This can potentially be significantly cheaper and help you save on expenses.
- Skip Airport Parking
Airport parking can add up quickly if you’re planning to take to the skies this holiday season. Consider saving money by utilizing carpool or rideshare services like Uber or Lyft and skip the airport parking altogether.
- Consider Travel Insurance
While this might not be at the top of your list, travel insurance can cover things such as trip cancellation, medical treatment, lost luggage or a missed connection. Since this is one of the busiest times of the year for travel, delays and overbooks can be expected as well as winter weather for this time of the year. The extra money you pay for this could potentially save you hundreds in a worst-case scenario. In addition, don’t forget to add this to your budget!
- Utilizing Credit Card Benefits
If you’re an avid traveler, maybe you have points built up with a certain airline or with your credit card. Accruing points to put toward your holiday trip can help you to save hundreds of dollars. Or perhaps you have great cash back rewards that will you earn you some money on your expenses over your trip. Don’t forget that its important you are using you travel credit cards or any credit cards in the right way. Paying your card off on time and in full is very important to keep you out of holiday debt and not worry about interest payments.
If you need additional help with creating a holiday budget or have further questions, then Powercat Financial is here to help! The peer counselors are available to assist you with any of your financial concerns. Schedule an appointment with us today at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/! We look forward to meeting with you.
Peer Counselor II