Traveling with your loved ones is a great way to celebrate the holidays. You have no work responsibilities, the kids are out of school, and your family and friends are all free to unwind and have a good time. 

The bad thing during the holiday season is, everyone’s doing the same thing. And when this happens, expect not only a massive influx of tourists but also a hike in airfares and hotel accommodation prices. 

But don’t let this ruin your holiday spirits – with thoughtful planning, you can have an amazing holiday trip while saving money. Here are helpful tips on how to save money on your holiday trip. 

1. Don’t neglect holiday package deals

Holiday package deals often get a bad rap, as they’re notorious for placing travelers in a cookie-cutter hotel room, less than stellar attractions, and inconvenient travel situations. But times have changed. 

Before saying yes to holiday package deals, make sure to read the fine print. Search the properties involved and compare regular prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

2. Take advantage of the apps

Traveling on a holiday is the best time to be tech-savvy. 

You may use aggregator apps that do most of the work for you – finding flight and hotel deals, comparing prices and inclusions, and paying. You can also find apps designed for finding great attractions and travel activities at a discounted price. 

3. Book everything in advance

As the holidays draw nearer, the prices go higher. Book earlier and pretty much all your travel plans will be a breeze. When planning a holiday trip, book at least 5 weeks before your trip to secure cheaper airfares, good deals on hotels and hostels, and the best spots on trains and buses. 

4. Be flexible with your travel time

Who doesn’t hate encountering mobs of tourists, long queues, sky-high prices, and gas-depleting traffic jams? The rule of thumb is to stop traveling when everyone else is. 

Make the most out of your holiday travel by going off-peak. Avoid scheduling your travel activities on a weekend. Stay in during the midweek, where rates are lower, crowds are fewer, and experiences are better.

5. Time your flight booking wisely

Apparently, there’s a “sweet spot” when booking flights. Sundays and Mondays, normally, are the best days to book the cheapest flights. Fridays are the worst. Concerning the previous point, try to book your flight for a Tuesday or a Wednesday. 

6. Lodge at the right places

If exploring the city is the heart of your holiday trip, then think about settling for small, local hotels, hostels or Airbnbs. You may also go to the hotels on the outskirts of town instead of picking a hotel located in the center of the city. They’re likely cheaper, more authentic and homier. If you’re traveling as a group, lodging at a vacation house or villa would be a more luxurious yet cheaper option. 

7. Book two one-way flights instead of one round-trip flight

This is a popular way to hack the airlines. While booking a roundtrip fare is more convenient, it’s often expensive. The best time to try this airfare hack is when a roundtrip fare just seems a bit too high for you and when you’re buying flights during the last minute. 

8. Search via private browsing

Next to using the best travel search engines for cheaper flights and hotels, beat the system by hiding your search. 

Here’s the sneaky ploy: You search for a hotel in Brugge Belgium and find a good price. But you’re not ready to book it yet, so you pause to think. You come back from dinner 2 hours later and voila – the hotel price increased to 25%, urging you to book NOW. 

Airlines use cookies in your browser to follow your search activities. They make you believe prices are going up so you need to act immediately. They’ll also bombard you with travel advertisements while you’re on social media. To avoid this, make sure to clear cookies and search history and search in incognito mode or private browsing.  

9. Don’t exchange money at the airport

Airport currency exchange kiosks may be convenient, but the rates won’t provide value for your money. Make sure you go to a legitimate money changer or bank before flying to another country. Using the ATM after you arrive is also a better choice. 

10. Switch off data roaming

Never forget to turn off data roaming when you’re traveling abroad. Instead, use free Wi-Fi from your hotel accommodation, airport, restaurant, and travel destination. 

11. Find free/cheap things do

Traveling on a holiday doesn’t always have to burn your pockets if you put a little effort into finding cheap/free travel opportunities. Go to Google and type your location + free things to do. You’ll find a plethora of interesting activities that won’t cost a dime, from free museum admissions to open-air musical performances. 

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a daytime writer for Green Park Hotel Brugge, a three-star hotel in Brugge, offering the perfect countryside accommodation experience while exploring the best-preserved medieval city of Belgium. Since this free-spirited damsel loves to go on adventures, she’s got a lot to say about travel, dining, cultural enjoyment, and lifestyle.

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