Traveling for the holidays: 5 tips to saving money (and your sanity)

Posted at 3:22 PM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-09 17:22:02-05

As the hustle and bustle of the holiday travel season draws near, for many, it's important to consider money-saving travel tips to keep your holiday budget in check. Here, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union offers savvy advice on keeping travel costs low in the coming weeks and beyond. 

1. Travel at non-peak times

When booking travel for the holidays, the price of flights can vary immensely depending on your choice of day and time to travel. Consider leaving one day earlier or returning one day later than the peak timeframe to save money, along with booking a red eye or even an early morning flight. Travel sites like Hipmunk and Skyskanner provide valuable insight into airline ticket pricing, along with advanced search capabilities that allow you to weigh your cost of travel in terms of time (trip duration) or money. If saving money is more important than time, consider booking a flight with one or even two layovers for a cheaper ticket.

2. Prepay for your airport parking

If you'll be leaving your car at the airport during your trip, booking your parking in advance can save you some hard earned cash. Many airports allow you to pre-book and pay online ahead of your trip.

3. Bring your own snacks

Most airlines charge for meals or deluxe snack packs these days and there's no rule against bringing your own food on board. Packing a few snacks or even a sandwich in a small cooler bag for a longer flight can save you several bucks, especially if you're traveling with a family.

4. Avoid checked baggage fees

If you're only traveling for a couple of days and want to avoid the cost (and the headache) of checking a bag but aren't sure how, think about strategically planning your travel outfit. In the winter, many ladies wear boots but they can take up valuable space in your carry on. Consider wearing boots and other bulky items on the plane to free up space in your carry on, or invest in a "luggage jacket" or great carry-on bag to help you beat baggage fees.

5. Weigh your bags before you leave the house

Yet another dreaded point where the airlines can tack on fees: having a bag that's over the weight limit can cost you an average of $25 each way. Avoid any unnecessary surprises by weighing your bag before you leave home. Want a handy way to weigh? Weigh yourself on a digital scale and then weigh yourself holding your bags. The difference between the two should be the weight of your bag. Be sure to check your airline's weight limits for bags to ensure you're within the bag weight standards.

Trying to stay financially fit? Check out more money-saving stories in our Financial Fitness Zone.
The information listed may not reflect the capabilities or practices at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, but is rather meant to serve as a unbiased advisement and support of the financial health of our community.