According to the majority of sources on travel statistics, this year is expected to be a busy one for holiday travel. Whether you’re going home for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah, you can bet that the price of an airline ticket is going to be higher than last year, too. Here are five tips that help you save money on your holiday travel, including airport parking.
Be Flexible On Arrival/Departure Days
The number one thing to keep in mind when booking your holiday air travel is the law of supply and demand. Most people will want to book a flight the day or so before Christmas or Hanukkah and return one or two days afterward, and will prefer Friday or Sunday departures. Obviously, those days are going to cost more because more travelers desire them. If you can be a bit flexible and leave midweek or stay longer so you’re not departing on the peak day, you’ll get a better deal. In fact, you could save up to 50 percent by departing on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday!
Avoid Traveling During the Holiday Week
You can save even more money if you completely avoid traveling during the week surrounding the holiday. For instance, if you’re okay celebrating Christmas before or after the actual day, you’ll find the lines shorter and the airfare much cheaper. Sure, most of us want to celebrate on the “real” holiday, but if you have a large family or several different groups to visit, this might be a very feasible alternative to spending a small fortune on holiday travel while allowing everyone to have a turn with different members of the family.
Reserve Airport Parking in Advance
Not only is the airport going to be extremely busy over the holidays, but so will the parking lots surrounding it. Do yourself a favor and reserve a spot in advance at an offsite parking facility. This offers several advantages for the holiday flyer. For one, it guarantees you a spot to park your car. For another, it usually always costs less that parking onsite – and if you can find an online coupon for the parking provider, it’s even cheaper. Take the stress and hassles out of finding a secured parking spot and getting to the terminal on time when you travel for the holidays this year by reserving it in advance.
Don’t Make Group Flight Reservations
If there’s a large group of you traveling together, don’t take the easy way out and look for a batch of tickets with a single airline on a single flight. You’ll end up paying the highest rate found on one seat for all of your seats. Instead, look for availability for two passengers at a time and book your air travel that way. You may not all be seated together on the flight, but you will pay less.
When You Buy Tickets Matters
You’ve probably heard advice that recommends you buy your airline tickets long before the holiday season so that you get the flight you desire. But doing so can mean you’ll pay far more than you need to. Think about it – airlines are counting on holiday flights being full so the earliest rates for those flights will be expensive. But as the time draws nearer and there’s still seats left, the airline will usually discount them just so they fill the flight. Don’t wait until the very last minute, though, because you’ll pay a premium for necessity.