The holidays are approaching, and if you’re like us, your calendar is quickly filling with family get-togethers and events, some of which are out of town. Travel is an inevitable part of the holiday season and can be a stressful experience — but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five tips to stay safe — and save money — on the road this year.
1. Save Money: Avoid Peak Travel Dates
If you don’t have far to go, waiting to travel until the actual holiday itself as opposed to the night before can save you a substantial amount of money. Airlines typically offer cut-rate deals on Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Avoiding a Sunday return flight can save you major cash as well.
2. Save Money: Do Your Research
Websites like Expedia, Kayak, and Travelocity allow you to compare flights across many different airlines at once. The majority of these sites also include features that allow you to search adjacent days to help you find the best deal possible. Another tip? Check flights at adjacent airports as well — you might be able to find a deal that leaves a bit more money in your holiday gift budget. Also, consider purchasing a package deal, for example air/car or air/hotel. You’ll save more money than if you had purchased these things separately. Finally, buy flights early. Purchasing them well in advance — think months before you need to make the trip — will help you save major cash.
3. Save Money: Ship Your Gifts
Gifts take up a lot of space and paying to check a second or third bag at the airport can be expensive. Buy presents early and ship them to your destination ahead of time. Keep an eye out for free shipping deals to really maximize your budget.
4. Stay Safe: Protect Your Health
Being in close contact with other travelers during the holiday season can increase your risk of catching a cold or the flu. To lower your chances of getting sick, there are a number of things you can do:
- Get the flu shot as soon as possible
- Wash your hands properly (wet, lather for 20 seconds, rinse) and often
- Stay hydrated: it’ll help your immune system
- Try not to overindulge; generally sticking to your normal diet over the holidays will keep your stomach happy
- Exercise! It helps the body ward off infection, improves your mood, and gives you some quality “me-time” if you find yourself craving a little solitude
5. Stay Safe: Don’t Advertise an Empty Home
Spending time out of town over the holidays might be inevitable, but do your best to avoid advertising an empty house to would-be burglars. For starters, be cognizant of what you’re sharing on social media. If you have public social media profiles, it might be a good idea to step up your privacy settings — at least until you return home — or avoid posting pictures or status updates from the airport or from the next state over all together. Another tip? Ask a neighbor to retrieve your mail each day and keep it until you get home. An overflowing mailbox is a sure sign that nobody’s home.
The holidays are a joyful time of year — start with the above tips to stay safe and keep your wallet full as you celebrate with family and friends.