Many people spent the 2020 holiday season locked down at home due to the pandemic. At this point, the pandemic is far from over, and coronavirus cases are still popping up all over the country thanks to the highly contagious delta variant.
But the situation is very different than it was last year. At this point, many people are vaccinated, which makes holiday travel a safer prospect all around.
If you’re thinking of visiting loved ones during the holidays, there’s more than just COVID-related logistics to overcome. You’ll also need to pay for your trip, and it could get expensive.
Flights and lodging tend to be costlier during the holidays when demand is high. And the last thing you want to do is rack up debt in an effort to see family and friends.
The good news is that you can take steps to reduce your holiday travel costs. Here are a few key moves to make now — before the holidays are upon us.
1. Book your flights in advance
The closer it gets to the actual holidays, the fewer options you’ll have with regard to flights. That could mean not only having to travel at an inconvenient time, but also paying more for your airline tickets.
A better bet? Book your plans now. At this point, you still have a little time to research airfares on different airlines and play around with dates, so take advantage of that opportunity while you can.
2. Make sure you have the right credit cards
The right credit cards could make traveling less expensive by virtue of offering money-saving perks. For example, some travel rewards cards allow you a free checked bag when taking a flight. Others offer discounts on in-flight purchases. Or, you might have a card that gives you a nice amount of cash back for things like restaurant meals. And if you’ll be dining out a lot during your travels, that’s a useful thing to get your hands on.
Take a look at your credit cards and make sure they’re the right ones to book holiday travel on. If not, you still have time to apply for a new one.
3. Be flexible with your travel plans
During the holidays, it costs more to travel on certain days than others. And if you’re willing to be flexible with your plans, you could save a bundle.
Say you want to fly out to see family for Thanksgiving. Booking your flight for that Thursday rather than Wednesday could easily mean paying $100 less. And if that’s the case, now’s the time to talk to your family about shifting plans. If your parents are hosting the big meal, they may be willing to move it to Friday if it allows you to book a less expensive itinerary.
Holiday travel alone can land you in debt if you’re not careful — or put a big strain on your budget. These moves could shave a nice amount of money off of your travel costs, so don’t wait too long. The closer it gets to the holidays, the harder it will be to implement cost-saving strategies.
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