12 Ways to Save on Holiday Travel

It’s not too late to save money on your holiday travel. Check out our tips for ways to slash the cost of airfare, hotels and rental cars.

12 Ways to Save on Holiday Travel Photo (cc) by Elvert Barnes

If going home for the holidays, or escaping from home, for that matter, is a part of your December plan, you may think it’s too late to score a deal. After all, aren’t we always told to book in advance for the best prices?

While it can be easier to find deals if you have more time to work with, there are plenty of ways to save money on last-minute holiday travel. Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson goes over some of your options in the video below.

Watch it and then read on for more ideas.

1. Cash in frequent-flier miles

Hopefully you have a credit card or belong to a loyalty program that lets you rack up rewards to be used on travel. Put those frequent-flier miles to use when it comes time to buy your airfare.

Another option may be to use the miles to upgrade your travel accommodations from economy to first class. Treat yourself and travel in style. You’ll still be paying full price for the economy ticket, but it may make for a more enjoyable holiday. Plus, some airlines check luggage for free for first-class fliers.

If you don’t have any frequent-flier miles, read this article on how to play the credit card rewards game and get ready for next year.

2. Sign up for fare alerts

Rather than checking the travel sites compulsively, let them email you when fares drop. You can sign up for fare alerts on a variety of sites, including these:

3. Travel on Christmas Day

Is it ideal? Probably not.

Is it cheaper? Probably is.

If you didn’t book early enough, you can try finding a flight on Christmas Day when fewer people are traveling. Fewer people on the planes may mean more money in your pocket as a result of lower fares.

4. Fly out of an alternate airport

Flights out of major hubs will almost always command higher prices than those out of regional airports. See if you can save by driving to the smaller airport an hour away.

5. Be willing to be bumped

Build enough flexibility into your schedule that you can accept an offer to be bumped from a flight. Doing so might not save you any money on your current trip, but you could walk away with a voucher worth hundreds off your next flight.

6. Check with a travel agent

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