How to Save on Holiday Travel
Written by Barry Choi
Wednesday, October 9th, 2019
Whether you're headed home to spend time with family or taking a much needed vacation, travelling during the holiday season can be expensive and stressful. You're already spending more than usual on presents and social events, so taking a trip will just add to your expenses.
Here Are 7 Tips to Help You Save on Your Holiday Travel Costs:
1. Avoid Certain Travel Days
Generally speaking, Christmas Eve and January 2 are the busiest travel days during the holidays, which means you'll likely pay more for your airfare on those dates. If possible, try travelling at the start of December or the second week of January since not as many people are taking trips at that time and flights might be cheaper. It may not be ideal, but if you're really in a bind, seeing your family a little bit before or after the holidays and saving on travel costs is better than nothing.
2. Sign Up for Airline Newsletters
The easiest way to save on airfare is to sign up for every airline's newsletter, since they'll let you know as soon as there's a sale. These deals aren't just for last-minute flights—they're often good for travel months later. You'll also want to pay close attention to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, since many airlines and tour operators may have big sales at that time.
3. Book Your Travel as a Package
There are many websites that allow you to bundle your flight, hotel and rental car, which will usually save you money as opposed to booking things separately on your own. The nice thing about a website like Expedia is that you don't need to reserve everything at the same time to save. Depending on your departure date, you usually have a few weeks where you can add a hotel and/or rental car and still get the lower rate.
4. Do You Have Points? Use Them!
If you've been collecting reward points over the years with your credit card or other loyalty programs, now is the time to cash them out. Points can be extremely valuable since they'll let you travel for free or give you discounts. Regardless of what loyalty program you're with, read the fine print to find out what your points will get you and if there are any fees you need to pay when redeeming your points.
5. Consider Other Transportation Options
VIA Rail offers discounts for children, students, and adults over the age of 60, which is great if there's a route that works for you. Depending on where you're headed, low-cost carriers may have lower fares compared to the major airlines. If you happen to live near the border, you may want to consider flying out from a neighbouring American city, since tickets on U.S. airlines might be more affordable.
6. Consider Some Lesser-Known Destinations
Thinking of going on vacation this holiday season? You can save big by visiting lesser-visited destinations in the winter. Banff is great for skiing and is more affordable compared to Whistler. Montreal in the winter is cold, but there are many free outdoor activities to keep you warm.
7. Ship Your Presents Directly
Checking your luggage can easily cost you $30-$50 each way, so you may want to reconsider bringing all of your presents with you. What you could do instead is order your presents online and ship them directly to your loved ones. Look for online merchants that offer free shipping and gift wrapping so it'll still feel like a surprise. It may not seem like the most traditional thing to do, but it'll save you money.