If you’re one of the millions hitting the road this holiday season, you’re probably dreading the added expense to an already tight time of year. It’s easy to feel trapped by expenses such as fuel, auto maintenance, airfare, hotels, and meals. However, there’s always ways to save on holiday travel.
The good news is that those prices are much easier to lower than you think! There are surprising ways to save on holiday travel!
How to save on holiday travel
- Weeks before heading out, you should check to see if your grocer offers a fuel rewards program. Stores such as Kroger (and affiliates) and HyVee offer gas discounts for specific items purchased in store. These discounts accumulate on your shoppers card and can help cut the cost of a fill up dramatically.
- Pay inside! Some stations will put a hold of as much as $75 on your account when you pay at the pump. This is in addition to the amount paid for the gas. These holds typically drop off in 3-5 business day, but if you are filling up frequently over a holiday weekend, they can cause some major damage to your account.
- Use an app such as GasBuddy to check for the lowest prices on your route. If necessary, top off a partial tank.
- The best airfare prices are typically found exactly 21 days before your departure.
- You may have noticed that the prices seem to keep going up after you initially check them. Try clearing your cache, or checking from a different computer. Some sites will actually give you higher rates each time you check. If you log on from a different computer, you will most likely see the original rate.
- Check with the airlines directly. Many are able to beat the prices through travel sites. Travel agents are often overlooked for basic trips. It won’t cost you anything to call, and most can get great rates.
- Check daily deals sites in the areas you’ll be traveling through. Don’t purchase them just yet, call the hotel first and ask if they will match the deal. Most are more than happy to do so, as this cuts out the fees paid to the middle man.
- Know the prices of other hotels in the area. Call and ask if they will match rates.
- Don’t make a reservation. That’s a scary one!!! A hotel manager would much rather have a filled room than an empty one. They are often very eager to negotiate rates.
- Read through the perks offered with each hotel and figure that into the savings. For example, Drury Hotels offer an evening reception that includes a dinner buffet, three cocktails per adult, a breakfast buffet, and unlimited sodas and popcorn. That’s two meals and snacks!
- If you still want to book in advance, be sure to do a quick search for a coupon code. Simply type the hotel name and ‘coupon code’ into your search bar and see what pops up.
- Dining out can cost as much as everything else combined! Take advantage of the holiday gift card deals. Many chain restaurants offer a promotional gift card with the purchase of a gift card. Buy these in advance!
- Sign up for emails from restaurants that you might stop at. They will often email you a welcome coupon. Start signing up 1-2 weeks in advance as some of these aren’t sent immediately.
- Visit the daily deals sites for half price certificates in towns you will be traveling through. This will give you an idea of what’s in the area and will save you up to 50% on your meals! Don’t forget to check with local radio and television stations, as they often offer discounts, too.
With just a little advanced planning, you can eliminate a lot of the financial stress associated with holiday travel. Enjoy your trip!