The holiday season is officially here and chances are you've already started planning how you'll be going home for the holidays. Unfortunately, travel can get expensive, especially at this time of year when you're also trying to budget for dozens of other expenses.
The less you spend on travel means the less you have to worry about things like potential credit card debt. So how can you make sure to keep your budget under control when it's already tight? Here are a few tips you can use for traveling on a shoestring-budget.
Have your gifts sent to your destinationGifts can make your luggage that much heavier, which costs extra when you're flying. What's more, the gifts kept in your bags can end up getting damaged or broken when they're thrown, fall over, or collide with other bags.
If you're traveling to a relative's, send your gifts to their house to save on baggage costs. You can either have the gifts sent directly there and wrap them when you arrive or wrap them beforehand and send them in a flat-rate box.
Sending your gifts directly to your relatives can also prevent porch thieves from stealing them from your house; approximately 2 million burglaries are reported every year in the country.
Buy your flights earlyIt's all too easy to procrastinate when buying your flights for the holidays. After all, with up to 24,142,000 general aviation flight hours logged in 2015 alone, you want to make sure that you're getting the best possible deals. That requires many price comparisons and a lot of time spent reading reviews.
But to get the best deals, you want to purchase your flight several weeks or even months in advance. The Turks and Caicos islands might only be an 80 minute flight from Miami, but if you don't time your purchase right, you could be paying much more than you anticipated for those plane tickets. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are considered the best possible days to book your flight. Avoid booking on Fridays and Sundays.
Skip the airport rental carSome families drive their own vehicles to visit family during the holiday season. In fact, the average family in the U.S. spends an average of 87 minutes a day in their cars.
But if your vehicle is on the older side, you might feel a little uneasy driving it across the state. It's not uncommon for cars to get stuck in the snow and more than 150 people fall victim to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning every year. Rental cars are in great shape to get you wherever you need to go, but whether you'll get a good deal on them depends on where you rent from.
It's a good idea to avoid renting a car from the airport even though it's more convenient, especially if you're flying into a different city. Airport surcharges mean you'll be paying additional fees on top of your rental rate.
Avoid these fees by pricing out rental locations in the city and comparing those prices to what you could get at the airport. Make sure to budget for additional transport to your rental location (such as the cost of an Uber, Lyft, or taxi).
Traveling during the holidays can get pricey. But by following the tips above, you can avoid additional fees and charges that would otherwise cut into your budget.