Traveling to see family and friends might be one of the most important parts of the season… but it can also account for the bulk of holiday spending! Here are some tips to save:
1. Buy with points
If you have points available — through an airline or hotel loyalty program, rewards credit card, etc. — now is a great time to use them on travel expenses. Not only does this save you from spending out-of-pocket, but you can sometimes get a better rate when buying with points than you would buying with cash.
2. Buy with a travel rewards credit card
If you have a credit card that offers rewards on travel purchases, use it when booking airline tickets, hotel stays, rental cars, and the like. You may not see the benefit right away, but you’ll earn extra points on those purchases you can use later, effectively lowering your price.
Some cards also offer trip protection as an automatic benefit, in case you get sick or have to change plans.
3. Shop through a rewards portal
Many credit cards and loyalty programs offer online travel portals, where you can shop for airfare, hotel rates, car rentals, and even cruises. By booking your travel through these portals, you may be able to access discount rates.
4. Book through a discount site
If it’s good enough for William Shatner, it’s good enough for you. Booking travel through a discount site (such as Priceline, Orbitz, or Kayak) can score you some serious discounts. Plus, many of these sites offer rewards if you sign up for an account, so you’ll save money on your next booking.
Note: Certain travel bookings may have no-cancellation policies. If you need to make itinerary changes, there may be fees involved after booking through a third-party platform!
5. Use up credit card travel benefits
Do you have a credit card that offers an annual travel credit? If so, now’s the time to use it or lose it!
Why? Certain cards may credit your account for a certain dollar amount each year, as long as you spend it on eligible travel. If you have one of these cards, make sure you have maxed out your benefit before the year ends.
6. Travel on off-peak days
Do you know what the most expensive day to fly is around Christmastime? December 26. Unfortunately, it’s also the day that many people need to hop on a plan to either get back home or visit other family members before the break ends.
By choosing off-peak days for your travel, you can save hundreds of dollars. Most airlines have fare calendar tools, which will let you see when the lowest-priced flights are scheduled. If possible, use this to plan your trip(s).
7. Take advantage of standby offers
Not in a huge time crunch? Consider taking your airline’s offer if they ask passengers to volunteer for a later flight. By waiting just a couple of hours more, you could earn an airline voucher worth hundreds of dollars (which you can use for the flight home or a future trip!).
8. Consider not flying
Taking to the skies is usually the most expensive travel method. If you’re able, though, consider an alternate transportation type.
For example, spend an extra day road-tripping to see loved ones. You’ll save on flights and a rental car at your destination, and see some fun places along the way. You might even consider hopping on an Amtrak route, where you can nap as the countryside passes you by.
Chime Tip: Travel often makes up the majority of holiday spending costs, but can also be one of the easiest expenses to trim down. By utilizing credit card points programs, third-party discount booking platforms (like Orbitz and Priceline), and any existing rewards first, you can easily save hundreds.