How to Save Money While Visiting Family This Season

Tax Planning

With holiday vacations fast approaching, many families are trying to make arrangements to visit their loved ones. The problem for some is that with so many other people traveling it can be expensive to go back home or catch up with a dear friend.

I want to share some tips on how you can save on getting there and how you can lodge in style without breaking the bank.

Getting a Deal on Your Plane Tickets

Now that our little girl is old enough that she needs a full price plane ticket, it means that we need to search for a bargain.  When we traveled to St. Louis last week, we got a great deal on our flights by going online.

Using a specialized airline search site like Fly.com can make it much easier to find the best dates to reserve your tickets. You give them a general date you’re hoping to travel and they will examine and compare prices for the surrounding dates. Traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally cheaper.

If you tend to have a lot of bags when traveling, you may want to check out airlines that offer free (like Southwest) or low rates for checked baggage.  Going for the cheapest quoted price does you no good if you’re charged extra for your luggage.

If you’re a big social media user, you may want to follow your favorite airlines’ twitter accounts.

Finding the Best Hotel Deal

If your family has plenty of room to offer, you may be able to stay with them during your visit. If space is limited, finding a good deal on a hotel now will help you save money and avoid having to hunt for a reservation in the middle of the busy season.

We use tools like Kayak to get an idea of prices and we use the bid feature on Priceline to score a better deal. While some people may be uncomfortable not knowing which hotel they’ll be staying in, I’ve found that with just a bit of filtering, we have been able to stay at some wonderful locations for a fraction of the advertised price.

Location is everything, so make sure when you start bidding that you limit where you want to stay to one area and keep the quality (stars rating) high. You can also tweak it and add more zones, but you may be able to get the perfect spot at the perfect price quickly.

If you’re looking for another option, you can try using sites like Airbnb which allow you to book directly from someone local who is renting out their room or even their apartment. It can be the cheapest way to score a private place in some major cities where hotel prices can be ridiculously expensive.

Thoughts on Saving Money While Traveling

I’d like to hear from you about how you and your family save during trips. How do you save money when visiting your family and friends?

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