7 Simple Ways to Save Big on Holiday Travel

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Woman in an airport during the holidays
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Please tell us you took our past advice to heart and already booked your holiday travel and lodging. If you did, hooray! You likely saved some major cash over prices you’d pay now. If you still haven’t booked, don’t panic. We have some brand new ideas on ways you can save on those big-ticket purchases and more.

Remember holiday travel expenses aren’t limited to the transport and hotel.

You can save major bucks on all aspects of travel including food and fun without morphing into the Grinch. Consider these seven ideas to keep the happy in your holidays and the cash in your bank account.

1. Check out the newest travel booking sites ­

Three people surprised looking at a laptop
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We’ve told you about some under-the-radar sites that boast travel bargains including FlyingYak and Kayak. But the newest travel bargain sites are hungry to build loyal customers and so are offering some can’t-believe-it rates. One of the newest is Rome2Rio. The site not only offers you airline bargains but also includes money-saving train, bus and even driving options. Travel bloggers also recommend Momondo, another under-the-radar site that unearths airfare and hotel bargains.

2. Find secret airline sales

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They really are out there! Sure, you can go to airline sites and register for updates on fare sales, but there are other ways to snag even better bargains. Register (it’s free!) at Secret Flying and The Flight Deal for bargains — as well as pricing goof-ups in your favor, e.g. a fare that should be $119, but was accidentally posted at $19. Secret Flying calls them “Error Fares.”

3. Bag airline baggage fees

Baggage claim
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We recommend you fly with just one carry-on so you save the baggage fees charged by airlines. If you have a few extra things you can’t cram in, consider wearing them on the plane. If you can tolerate a little discomfort until you’re seated, your reward may total $25 or more — plus you’ll eliminate the hassle of standing at the luggage carousel. If you’re traveling as a family, and you all have extra things you can’t get into your carry-on bags, consider sharing a single checked bag.

4. Pre-book your airline parking

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Not only can you save major cash by securing your off-site airline parking in advance, but you’ll also save the stress that comes with finding a “Full” sign at your chosen lot. Not sure which lot is the best for you? Check options at national websites including AirportParking.com and ParkRideFlyUSA.com.

5. Grab hotel bargains

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You know to check on the usual travel websites including Travelocity and Priceline, but don’t forget newcomers such as Jetsetter. Another newer site worth checking is Boxed.com, which sometimes has deep discounts on hotel bookings compared with the major sites, reviewers say.

6. Enjoy an airport lounge

Woman relaxing in a lounge chair at an airport
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Before you think joining a members-only airport lounge is a costly splurge, consider that most have plenty of freebies for which you’d otherwise pay. Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi, food, beverages, magazines and comfy, quiet areas that offer spacious seating. There are also agents assigned to provide exclusively assistance to club members with rebooking and other ticketing issues. Don’t travel enough to justify an annual membership? Options offered by Priority Pass include a day pass for $27.

7. Check out local bargains

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Thanks to such websites as Groupon and Living Social, you can find bargains on food, recreation and activities wherever you go. Enroll and check often. You can also search for deeply discounted gift certificates to eateries in your travel destination through Restaurant.com.

For snacks and beverages, stop by a local supermarket or convenience store to stock up rather than pay inflated hotel prices.

Not sure what recreation options are available in the area where you’re traveling? Go to Utrip, and you can create a personalized travel itinerary. Some liken it to a savvy personal assistant.

You really can travel during the holiday without blowing your budget on overpriced holiday travel. Start planning now with the help of the above sites, and you can still grab some bargains.

Do you plan to travel over the winter holidays? How do you economize? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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