How to Plan a Cheap Holiday Escape this Season

From office holiday parties to decorations for your home, holiday expenses can quickly add up. According to the American Research Group Inc., the average American spent close to $1,000 on holiday gifts alone! And this, of course, doesn't include all of the get-togethers and holiday functions. But, what if instead of celebrating the holidays at home, you decided to skip them all together? Wouldn't it be nice to stick your toes in the sand and have the sun give you a fresh glow? If you're ready to skip out on the holiday hustle and bustle, here are a few ways to save on travel while staying within your budget:

Book Early

Book Early

A great rule of thumb to follow is: the earlier you book the better. Figure out your travel plans and commit to it in advance. No matter where you want to go, the earlier you book, the more money you will be able to save down the line. This may also leave you a little wiggle room in your budget to purchase some gifts for your loved ones.

Consider Traveling on an Actual Holiday

Airports are ghost towns on actual holidays. It may not be the ideal situation, but you could end up saving a lot of money and headaches by traveling on an actual holiday. This may sound outlandish to some but you never know, it could even turn into a tradition.

Bundle Airfare & Accommodations

Many travel sites offer deals on bundling your airfare with your accommodations. A few sites that you should check out include Expedia coupons, Travelocity coupons, and United Vacations coupons, which all offer vacation packages at discounted rates. If a holiday getaway is calling your name, a travel package may be just the solution to get you out of the city.

Airport

Hitch a Ride to the Airport

Whether you decide to carpool or hop into an Uber, hitching a ride to the airport could save you a ton of money on parking. Sometimes companies like to spike the parking rates during the holidays. Make sure you calculate the parking cost versus taking a ride before heading to the airport.

Purchase Your Plan Tickets Well in Advance

Another important thing to note is that airfares will continue to rise the closer it gets to the holidays. But, there are a few ways to get around this. Try using sites such as Skyscanner and Priceline to predict when airfares will go up or down.

Pack Light

Airlines have begun cracking down on the size and weight of your suitcase. You don't want to end up spending an extra $50 just because you were one pound over. If you're looking to save, be sure to only pack the necessities and register your bag in advance to save on time. Some companies hike up the price for your suitcase when you get to the airport.

Arrive Early

Arrive Early

The holidays tend to be a busier time almost anywhere you go. In order to avoid missing your flight, arrive early to the airport. This will also help you eliminate the stress and worry of traffic and busy lines.

Try to Negotiate Free Upgrades

It never hurts to ask for an upgrade. Seat assignments change all the time and you never know if an upgrade may be possible. Another tip is to arrive early if you plan on asking for an upgrade since it's harder to negotiate if the airline agent is in a rush.

Travel Locations You Should Check Out

Now that you know how to save money while traveling during the holidays, here are a few vacation ideas that can help get you started:

  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: If you are close to the west coast, a vacation to Cabo San Lucas may be a great destination. If you are willing to stay downtown, you may be able to catch a great deal.
  • Cancun, Mexico: If you have your passport, a trip to Cancun may be the perfect holiday destination. There are many all-inclusive holiday resorts that can save you a ton of money.
  • Houston, Texas: If you're feeling in the cowboy/cowgirl spirit, Houston may be a wonderful holiday getaway.
  • San Diego, California: If you are ready for the surf, sand, and great good, San Diego may offer some budget-friendly accommodations this holiday season.
  • Phoenix, Arizona: Phoenix is a relatively affordable destination if you enjoy hiking and outdoor activities.

If you're ready to book your trip away for the holidays, start doing your research now! There are plenty of ways to save on your travel as well as stay within your holiday budget. After all, you may even have a little extra cash left over to purchase some gifts for your family.