Planning a trip this holiday season? Looking to get away for a few days to spread some Christmas cheer?
If so then you should also plan to spend a lot of time and a whole lot of money.
As a frequent traveler I can tell you first-hand that traveling for the holidays sounds great in theory, but in reality it can be a nightmare thanks to hiked-up prices and massive crowds.
But all is not lost.
I’ve done some research to find out how you can find the bests prices and beat the crowds.
Andrea Woroch, a nationally recognized consumer-savings expert and Carrie Peters, Travel Editor for Hotwire, gave me some great tips to save you time and money while traveling.
I also have information on a great sweepstakes travelers can participate in for free called Happy Thanksgathering, courtesy of the SC Johnson company.
Here’s what you need to know:
·Book as early as possible: Airlines are known for hiking prices, so it’s important to plan ahead and book as early as possible to get the best deals. Andrea warns that; “Airfare prices spike the last 10 days leading up to Christmas, and you’ll pay out the nose for last-minute holiday travel.” So if you are going away from Christmas, try to book before December 15th.
·Track Prices: Prices fluctuate, but if you pay attention you can score a great deal. As Andrea explained, prices can change at any given moment based on demand.
To help you track without having to stare at the computer all day use an app like Pintrips to ensure you get the lowest price.
Pintrips tracks prices in real time and also lets you coordinate travel plans with loved ones.
You can also use Hopper, which will alert you when prices for your trip drop and suggest the best times to fly.
Airlines want your business, so comparison shop to get the best deals using an app that tracks prices.
·Book on a Tuesday: Carrie told us a little known secret: “Many airlines launch sales on Monday afternoons, so you can score a great deal by booking flights on Tuesday afternoons when competing airlines respond by lowering their prices.”
·Use Coupons: Travel companies, from airlines to hotels, want your money, so even though prices tend to go up during the holidays you can still score a great deal. Andrea suggests using Coupon Sherpa, which provides travel codes for holiday deals.
She alerted us to 2 great deals currently available on the site: $25 off $100 Hotwire bookings, or 25 %off a car rental from Budget through Dec. 28.
·Buy Someone’s Reservation: Some people find themselves unable to use their hotel reservations, which can lead to a big discount for you. According to Andrea RoomerTravel.com is a safe venue for connecting with travelers who are stuck with a reservation they can’t use.
The site will help you purchase their reservation, for up to 25% below market value, making it a win-win for everyone.
·Use a Virtual Travel Agent: Cortana is great for planning every aspect of your trip and can save you valuable time. She can track flights, hotel and car reservations and also alert you of any changes to any of these factors.
Online travel agents like Orbitz or Expedia can also save you money through price matching. For example, Orbitz will refund you the difference if your flight drops in price at any point between the time you booking and your travel date, while Expedia will refund the difference if the price drops within 24 hours of booking.
·Travel to A Different Destination: As Carrie explained, sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to a destination that is a little further away from where you’re going, then drive to your destination. Hotwire has car rentals starting at $11.95 a day, so you could end up saving big.
·Check-in Ahead of Time: Whenever possible, check-in online at the airport to save time and avoid long lines. Same goes for baggae.
Many airlines and airports have their own apps, so check to see what’s available.
You can also save yourself time (and aggravation) using an app like iFlyPro, which gives you information on in-terminal navigation, flight statuses, parking rates, layovers and more.
Finally, you can participate in SC Johnson’s Happy Thanksgathering sweepstakes, which is going on now through November 25th.
The SC Johnson company has long been known as “A Family Company” and they are living up to that reputation with this contest, which helps families enjoy the holidays together.
Entry is free and simple: just go to www.HappyThanksgathering.com for a chance to win a $1,000 “Help Me Get Home” Visa rewards card to put toward a trip home this holiday season.
You can also enter a second sweepstakes for the chance to win a $250 “Help Me Host” gift card to help pay for a holiday feast with loved ones.
What did you think of our 2015 holiday travel tips?
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