Image by Bert Kaufmann used under Creative Common License.
The holiday season is approaching and gathering disparate family members together becomes a number one priority. But getting everyone on board for the holidays isn’t always an easy task and paying for flights, hotels, etc. adds up quickly. Luckily, we’ve pulled together some expert tips for saving money during this busy season of travel.
Where to Book
For younger family members, there are a number of websites that provide student discounts, whether you’re flying within the US or from abroad. StudentUniverse is one of the more popular ones, but also look at STA Travel and Studentflights.com. For the rest of the family, using flight comparison sites like Expedia, Kayak, or Skyscanner can help ensure that you get the best deals available. If everyone is going to fly together, there are family discounts that can be applied at sites like Cheapoair and Cheapflights.com.
When to Book
Timing, as they say, is everything. Especially around the holiday season, it is important to think about when you are buying airline tickets. For instance, if you can get the family to fly on a Wednesday there’s a high chance the flights will be less expensive as it’s the least-travelled day of the week. Booking tickets between 7 and 21 days before a flight is usually when the cheapest prices are available, and looking for deals on the Tuesday before the departure date is also smart, as that’s when airlines most often release deals. One more tip for family travel during the holidays is to fly on the holiday itself – flights are significantly cheaper on Thanksgiving or Christmas than they are on the days surrounding them.
Where to Go
Image by amateur photography by michelused under Creative Common License.
If your family is looking to spend the holidays away from home, there are some tips for finding cheaper destinations for your festivities. The first tip is to consider locations that are in off-peak mode. During the winter, especially, less people are travelling in general, and most are headed for the tropics – so consider doing the opposite! Finding a location that is off the beaten path is another way to save money. There are plenty of gorgeous destinations that aren’t full of tourists, but still have loads in the way of natural beauty and local hospitality. Whether you opt to visit a small town in Italy or a natural beach in Croatia, do the unexpected when it comes to holiday travel.
Where to Stay
One easy way to save money on vacation is to avoid cities and instead take a trip to the countryside. Whether you’re in the US or abroad, this rule holds true and, typically, cheaper accommodation can be found. However, there are a number of budget options to consider within the citie as well. Hostels have become an increasingly popular way to live comfortably while on vacation and now there are a number of family-friendly options that didn’t exist even ten years ago. Sites like Hostelbookers.com have tips for how to find the most family friendly locations and how to make sure everyone is comfortable while they’re there. If you’re looking for an option between a hotel and a hostel, look at Airbnb for places to stay. The site, and others like it, allow families to rent out rooms, apartments or even entire houses for days at a time. Renting an entire house in a great destination is a perfect solution for families who want to cook their own meals, have more freedom and generally feel like they are in a home away from home.
How to Go
Although traveling by air is one of the only choices for international travel, in most destinations there are alternate means of transportation. Train travel across Europe is a fairly common and budget-conscious option for families and bus networks crisscross most countries, often offering even cheaper price tags. Cruises are a great money-saver, as well, since most of the food and drinks are included in the price. Finally, if one or two members of the family are traveling to or from the airport or train stations, there are a number of ride-sharing sites and apps that provide quick and hassle-free transport.
I hope these tips help you find the perfect holiday destination this year! Share if you think so too!