Long before the last bag of candy corn disappears from store shelves, thoughts turn to Thanksgiving and winter breaks…and the expense and stress of the season. “With more than 90 million Americans expected to travel during the holiday season — more than 5 million by air — we anticipate stress levels to reach boiling point for some travelers and peak airfares to skyrocket,” said Shirley Tafoya, president for Travelzoo North America. This year, minimize both by getting an early start on planning and making good use of Travelzoo‘s top holiday travel tips.
10 Best Travel Tips for the Holidays
1) Travel Apps Save You Time and Money
Find the best rates on mobile flight, car rental, and hotel booking sites. On the way, use apps like Waze GPS navigation or Google Maps to help you avoid traffic jams and get best routes. And when you arrive, save on dining and attractions with Travelzoo’s Local Deals.
2) Pick the Right Day to Fly
Be flexible with your travel dates. Flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas day can be less expensive than surrounding days, or extend the trip to fly long before or after the busiest dates. Check Travelzoo’s Holiday Fare Calendar for the cheapest day to fly, and Bing Travel‘s Price Predictor to determine when fares will be at their lowest.
3) Choose the Best Airport for your Flight
Not all airports are the same, choosing the right airport for your trip can translate into cheaper flights, lower parking rates, and easier connections. Try alternative airports: Bradley or Westchester vs. JFK; Bedford or Providence vs. Boston. Search for fares on Fly.com where travelers receive an alert if there’s a cheaper fare from a nearby airport.
4) Connect South
Pick the southernmost airport for connections to avoid potential weather delays, and check FlightRadar24 to track flights in real time. Arrive on time for family celebrations.
5) Choose a Destination Not Celebrating a Holiday
The Caribbean on Thanksgiving can be less costly than Orlando because families often stay in the U.S. over the holidays. Alternatively, an early season ski vacation can save you money AND help you burn those celebratory calories.
6) Book a Room at a Business Hotel
Many hotels catering to a business clientele drop rates on weekends and holidays to fill empty rooms. Check online hotel booking sites to find the best deals and perks.
7) Head to the Beach
Relax at an oceanfront getaway for a fun holiday. Beachfront resorts are quieter in the winter or fall, and you can save big at destinations like Cape Cod, Hilton Head, or Myrtle Beach.
8) Cruise Through the Holiday
Holiday cruises offer the best value for a family reunion, plus you can see several destinations in a single trip. Time your Caribbean cruise for the week following Thanksgiving for lowest rates of the year.
9) Be Smart at Airport Security
Get through security more quickly and with less hassle to cut down on potential holiday stress. CLEAR or the TSA Pre-Check Program can help you speed through security. Ship gifts instead of bringing them in your carry-on.
10) De-stress at a Premium Airport Lounge
Check into an airline premium lounge to escape the noise of airport terminals. Buy a single-day pass or look into credit card rewards programs. You’ll arrive more rested, relaxed and ready for holiday fun.