As Christmas and New Year’s fast approach, flights and hotels are booking up as friends and family members try to reunite for the holidays. The week between Christmas and New Year’s offers no mercy on the wallet when it comes to booking travel. Trust me, I know. I just booked a trip to visit family and friends – but still managed to get a pretty good deal. Here are some tips for the holidays that can help cut back travel costs:
Book Early For Cheap Airfare
Famous last words, right?But if you know you’re going to travel, book as early as possible to avoid those costly last minute tickets. As the holidays draw near, seat prices increase by the day. While I was booking my trip, the last three seats for a cheaper flight were scooped up before my payment was processed, leaving me with a more expensive option instead.
While most airlines will be selling seats at around the same price, sometimes you can find deals. It certainly doesn’t hurt to take some time to shop around and compare prices. Same goes for your travel insurance – don’t feel limited to the add on rates presented to you when buying your ticket.
Try Alternate Airports
In Canada, we don’t have many options when it comes to airlines, but we certainly do have a lot of airports. Living where I do in Ontario, I can choose to fly out of Kitchener, Hamilton or Toronto. I can even fly out of Buffalo, NY if I wish. Some of those alternate airports still offer seats at cheaper prices, since they’re not most people’s first choice.
Choose Your Flight Times Wisely
Choosing to fly early in the day or later in the evening can save you money. WestJet, for instance, offers flights at 5:30 a.m. While it’s not the most desirable time to fly, it is the cheapest. If time isn’t of great concern, but money is, you might want to consider one of these flights.
Choose Flights With Connections
Sometimes you can save money just by choosing flights with connections. Again, they’re less than desirable, since most people just want to get to their final destination without fuss – but they can be cheaper, sometimes by hundreds of dollars. If you have some time to spare, consider choosing one of those flights.
Use Your Rewards Points
Let’s be honest; sometimes you have no option but to fly during the busiest part of the season. If this happens, you may want to consider using your travel dollars and points to cut costs. This year, I used the points I’d saved on my credit card to help fund my trip home. It ended up cutting my costs back quite a bit.
Looking for a new way to collect points? For every dollar you spend when you use your BMO World Elite card, you earn 2 BMO rewards points. Plus, sign up now and you’ll get a 30,000-point welcome bonus, which is equivalent to a $300 travel credit to use without restrictions.