Can you believe that the holidays are just around the corner? Soon the leaves will be changing colors, the air will change to a brisk breeze and then snow will be falling. Most importantly, the holidays will come. If you’re planning to travel during the holidays, it’s time to start booking your trip.
Here are five ways to help you plan for your holiday travels:
1. Compare Prices on All Your Travel Options
Scan websites, sign up for price drop alerts and check coupon offers. A good time to book travel is two to four months before your departure because that’s the “sweet spot” in terms of pricing. As you get closer to the date, prices will increase. If you have control over the details of your trip, book your accommodations sooner than later.
Discount websites such as Expedia, Hotwire and Priceline all claim to offer the best deals. However Priceline seems to have the lowest prices and the lowest fees.
2. Don’t Be Set on Specific Details Just Yet
Shopping around is the best way to save money on holiday travels—or almost anything actually. However, shopping around is especially important when it comes to booking travel. Playing around with the details of your trip (like departure and return dates, travel methods or airline carriers) can help save big bucks.
3. Consider Using a Travel Agent
Travel agents do charge a fee for their service, but sometimes it’s worth it because they also have the best rates. Travel agents may even have access to deals that aren’t available to the public. If you need to book last minute travel it’s also a good idea to use a travel agent because they can help find an itinerary with the shortest connections and cheapest prices. It will save you a lot of time (that you probably don’t have) that you would otherwise spend looking at various websites and comparing different travel options.
4. Always Read the Fine Print
Sometimes the cheapest tickets aren’t always the best tickets. When booking your holiday travel accommodations (such as airline flights or train tickets) read the fine print to check if there are any penalties for making changes or canceling. Airlines are notorious for offering non-refundable, non-transferrable tickets to passengers.
Airlines often sell seats in tiers. The higher price you pay— the more flexibility you have when it comes to making changes to your travel dates or times. If you think something could change with your travel plans it’s always better to pay a little bit more for the tickets in exchange for comfort of convenience.
5. Buy Travel Insurance
Whether you’re traveling alone or with your family, it’s always a good idea to buy travel insurance. A lot of people may think that buying travel insurance is a waste of money because it’s one of those things you pay for but often don’t use. However, you’ll consider yourself lucky should you ever need it.
Travel insurance can help protect you in case of a medical emergency should you need to seek care while abroad. It can also help cover the costs of accommodations if your flights are delayed or canceled. Finally, I can cover the costs of replacing items if your luggage is delayed or lost. Now ask yourself, can I really afford NOT to have travel insurance?
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