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Ways To Make Holiday Travel More Affordable In 2024

Our journey begins with a panoramic view of various ways to make holiday travel more affordable—a roadmap designed to ensure that your festive adventures align harmoniously with your budgetary constraints.

Adaline Fritz
Dec 27, 202328 Shares14173 Views
As the holiday season beckons, so do the prospects of heartwarming celebrations and delightful getaways. However, the potential strain on your wallet need not dampen the holiday spirit.
Our journey begins with a panoramic view of various ways to make holiday travel more affordable—a roadmap designed to ensure that your festive adventures align harmoniously with your budgetary constraints.
Read on as we unveil a tapestry of actionable insights, from savvy booking strategies to ingenious cost-cutting measures, all aimed at making your holiday travel not just memorable but financially sustainable.

Build Your Budget First

Crafting a budget before choosing a destination is a crucial step in travel planning, as it ensures a financially sound and stress-free adventure. Many travelers succumb to the allure of a dream destination without a practical financial compass. However, savvy travelers take a divergent approach, setting the budget as the North Star guiding all travel decisions.
This strategic move ensures that every aspect of your travel, from accommodation and meals to excursions and souvenirs, seamlessly aligns with your predetermined budget. This approach shields you from the siren song of overspending or resorting to debt to satisfy your travel cravings.
To navigate the budgeting waters, open your budgeting app and take a keen look at your financial goals and commitments. This introspective dive into your budget serves as the compass guiding your travel decisions, empowering you to make choices aligned with your financial reality and ensuring that every penny spent contributes to a memorable experience without incurring unnecessary debt.
Setting your budget before choosing a destination is not just a financial strategy; it's a mindset that asserts that your travel aspirations can seamlessly coexist with fiscal responsibility. Your journey begins not at a destination but with a well-crafted budget, your true travel companion.

Use Miles Or Points For Flights

Using points or miles to book flights is a trend that is becoming more common among younger travelers. It may help you save money on part of your vacation.
While 30% of travelers, in general, intend to utilize points or miles to cover their travel costs, 40% of millennials—the group most likely to do so this year—state that they will do so in their 2023 Holiday Travel Report from NerdWallet.
Use up whatever miles or points you may have. Instead of recommending that you save up for a vacation, NerdWallet almost always says that you should spend the money.
Since hotels and airlines often increase the amount of points or miles required to book a trip, point inflation is a genuine phenomenon, similar to inflation.
Spending points on trips you were planning to take anyway is the best use of them since, unlike cash, you can't invest in or earn interest on them.
An airplane flying.
An airplane flying.

Book Early

If you wait until the last minute to plan your vacation, you may be able to get good bargains on flights and hotels, but if you want to save money, you need to book early.
As we approach the Christmas season, demand for travel will only increase. Regrettably, compared to other, less busy travel periods, most passengers do not have as much leeway around these days.
After all, there is a rather strict time constraint for visiting grandmothers for Thanksgiving dinner or New Year's Eve celebrations.

Use Free Night Benefits On Hotel Award Stays

Travel rewards are a valuable tool for adventurers, as they allow them to leverage points and miles for flights and enrich hotel stays. Hotel giants like Marriott, Hilton, and IHG offer a fifth-night-free benefit exclusively for loyalty members who redeem their points for a consecutive four-night stay.
This exclusive privilege is not applicable to cash bookings, but rather, when you book four nights using your accumulated points, the fifth night becomes a gracious gift from the hotel brand.
Hotel credit cards can also be used as point accelerators, providing a way to accumulate points for future adventures. By applying for a hotel credit card, you can unlock a welcome offer that showers you with ample points, catering to your immediate needs while setting the stage for future indulgences.
Strategic moves for an enhanced travel Odyssey include evaluating your points reserve, exploring hotel credit card offerings, capitalizing on welcome offers provided by hotel credit cards, and strategically planning your getaway.
Transforming points into complimentary hotel nights, especially with the allure of the fifth-night-free perk, is a nuanced art within the realm of travel rewards. It's about not just accumulating points but strategically wielding them to unlock unforgettable experiences.

Hitch A Ride

Airport parking expenses may be reduced in a few ways. The most enjoyable and inexpensive option is, of course, to ask a buddy to drive you there. However, parking will probably still be more expensive than taking a cab or using the airport shuttle.
In addition, you can relax and enjoy your vacation travels without worrying about your car being left exposed to the weather in a long-term parking lot.

Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates

If you can avoid flying during peak periods, you should be able to get better discounts. As an example, it's possible that flying from New York to Miami on a Friday will cost more miles than flying on a Thursday. It can be more expensive to get back home on a Sunday night compared to a Monday night.
If you're planning a vacation, it's often more cost-effective to book your flight on the actual holiday day (or the night before) than a few days in advance. Take this year's Christmas week prices as an example: a nonstop one-way trip from New York to Paris costs $868 on December 22 and $910 on December 23. Those taking to the skies on December 24 will pay $482, while those on December 25 will only have to pay $563.
During the winter holidays, NerdWallet looked at the busiest days to fly. Also, you should think about taking a flight (or even a road trip) on a less crowded day rather than a busy one, even if these don't always correspond with cheaper tickets.

Strategic Ride-Share Planning To Save Time And Cost

Customers can now schedule rides in advance and specify the precise time they want to depart for the airport thanks to the new On-Time Pickup Promise, which Lyft and Uber announced in 2023. You may avoid any surge pricing by using this option, which locks in the price.
Within ten minutes of the scheduled pickup time, a Lyft driver is guaranteed to be there. In the event that the driver does not appear, Lyft will pay up to $100 in Lyft credits to cover any missed time or possible expenditures. Compared to how things are at busy airports right now, this is a huge improvement.

Use A Credit Card With Travel Insurance

Travel insurance would protect you and your nonrefundable deposits if something unexpected happened to your trip. Having said that, the cost of this insurance has only increased over the last several years and may reach hundreds of dollars.
The number of people buying travel insurance using the comparison engine Squaremouth has jumped 300 percent from 2020 and 70 percent from 2019.
In 2023, 21% of holiday travelers want to or have purchased travel insurance for their journeys, which is a significant increase from 16% of 2022 holiday visitors.
The good news is that it may be completely free of charge. When you use your credit card to pay for your trip, you may be eligible for complimentary travel insurance.
Find out whether your credit card company offers travel insurance. You may save a ton of money by not getting additional coverage if your credit card already offers travel insurance.
You may not need separate travel insurance, but the coverage on your card might be sufficient. The complimentary travel insurance that comes with most credit cards does not cover medical expenses. Think about getting separate travel health insurance if this describes you. Compared to all-inclusive travel insurance, medical-only coverage can end up being less expensive.

Use A Credit Card That Waives Foreign Transaction Fees

Embark on an international journey and be prepared to face hidden financial pitfalls, such as foreign transaction fees. These fees, typically around 3% of the purchase price, can be surprisingly hefty, siphoning away your funds with each transaction.
To avoid this financial erosion, it's crucial to equip yourself with the right financial tools. Before packing your bags, scrutinize your current credit cards and consider whether they impose foreign transaction fees. In the digital age, subjecting yourself to these fees is an unnecessary financial burden.
If your wallet lacks such a champion, consider seeking out no-fee cards, where the 0% foreign transaction fee feature reigns supreme. Evaluate your current cards, scrutinize their fee structures, and if needed, venture into the realm of new credit card applications.
The market teems with options from reputable financial institutions that not only spare you from foreign transaction fees but often come adorned with additional travel perks.
A credit card tailored for international use not only shields your funds from unnecessary fees but can enhance your overall travel experience. From cashback on international purchases totravel insurance benefits, these cards are crafted to be your financial ally beyond borders.

Use Travel Apps And Social Media To Track Prices

Make sure to download a travel app as soon as you decide where you'll be spending your Christmas vacation. This will allow you to keep tabs on all the prices associated with your destination, from airfare to rental cars to hotel rooms to even local events and activities.
Sites like, Hopper, and Kayak make it easy to plan your trip and even provide you with straightforward purchasing guidance. Setting price notifications allows you to plan when to purchase and save money by being notified when prices decrease or rise.
It pays to follow your favored travel providers on social media since many of them may tweet out weekend or destination-specific offers that aren't shown on their websites.

Use A Bank That Refunds ATM Fees

Traveling abroad can present challenges, such as the potential for ATM fees and other financial difficulties. You might have to pay two sets of fees if you don't have a bank account that reimburses you for these costs: one from the ATM you're using and one from your bank for using an ATM at a different bank.
These fees can accumulate and strain your travel budget. To protect your travel budget, it's essential to secure an account with a bank that understands international travel and goes the extra mile by reimbursing ATM fees. This allows you to withdraw cash from any ATM without fear of mounting fees.
When choosing your financial companion, assess your current banking arrangements and consider diversifying your portfolio if necessary. Look for banks with traveler-friendly policies that offer accounts specifically designed to mitigate the financial challenges associated with international travel.
These accounts offer reimbursement for ATM fees and favorable currency exchange rates, making them invaluable tools for the discerning traveler.

FAQs - Ways To Make Holiday Travel More Affordable

What Are Some Strategic Booking Tips For Affordable Holiday Travel?

The key to affordable holiday travel often lies in the timing and strategy of your bookings. Discover insider tips to secure the best deals on flights, accommodations, and more.

How Can One Leverage Travel Rewards And Loyalty Programs To Cut Down Holiday Travel Costs?

Uncover the secrets of maximizing travel rewards and loyalty programs to transform your holiday getaway into a more cost-effective adventure without compromising on quality.

Are There Lesser-known Destinations That Offer Budget-friendly Holiday Experiences?

Explore off-the-beaten-path destinations that promise a magical holiday experience without the hefty price tag, providing an opportunity for unique adventures away from the crowds.

What Packing And Travel Hacks Can Contribute To Saving Money During Holiday Trips?

Learn practical packing and travel hacks that not only lighten your load but also lighten the burden on your wallet, ensuring a smoother and more affordable holiday travel experience.

How Can One Create A Realistic Budget For Holiday Travel And Stick To It?

Delve into the art of budgeting for holiday travel, gaining insights into creating a realistic budget that aligns with your financial constraints, and tips on sticking to it throughout your journey.

Final Thoughts

In the symphony of holiday travel, the finale is just as crucial as the opening notes. As we conclude our exploration of ways to make holiday travel more affordable, it's evident that frugality and festive cheer can indeed coexist. By implementing the strategies laid out in this guide, you've equipped yourself with the tools to navigate the holiday season with financial finesse.
So, whether you're planning a family reunion, a solo adventure, or a romantic getaway, let the principles of affordability guide your journey. May your holidays be not only filled with joy and warmth but also marked by the satisfaction of crafting unforgettable memories without breaking the bank. Safe travels and happy holidays!
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