The holiday season and its waterfall of travel-related expenses will be upon us in just a few short weeks, so let's cut right to the chase — you're probably looking for ways to save money on holiday travel right about now. Traveling for the holidays can get ridiculously pricey, from jacked up airfare to premium travel date pricing for hotels, and actually getting yourself to the four corners of the Earth to see your loved ones can seem like a daunting feat. Luckily, there is a trick to saving money when you're booking flights and hotels for the holiday season without breaking the bank.
I spoke to Cheryl Rosner, founder and CEO of Stayful.com, a website dedicated to bringing together customers and boutique hotels for unique travel experiences. Stayful allows users to place bids on hotel rooms, and receive an immediate response from the hotel of their choosing.
Rosner had loads of pro-tips to share about how to get the most bang for your buck, but one of them particularly stood out: "My cardinal rule for booking hotels is to check the hotel's cancellation policy, and book right after that has expired," Rosner explained. For example, if the hotel has a 72 hour cancellation policy, you would book your room a little less than 72 hours before your stay.
Though that kind of spontaneity will definitely give some of the more Type-A readers heart palpitations, the same approach can be used for purchasing airline tickets. Rosner detailed a recent travel experience she had where she successfully purchased a couple of heavily discounted one-way tickets the day she wanted to travel. "Instead of buying a round-trip ticket way in advance, you can buy two one-way tickets for a fraction of the price," she said, "and I always buy direct from the airline."
Looking for more sneaky ways to save on travel? Here are some other holiday travel insights to help you keep your budget intact.
Don't Drive To (Or Park At) The Airport
Use your favorite ride-sharing service to get to your flight so that you won't have to pay the exorbitant parking prices in and around the airport. Many cities have outlawed non-Union ride services from picking people up at the airport, but you can still get dropped off however you choose.
Have Any Gifts Shipped To Your Destination
Rather than paying extra for heavy luggage at the airport, elect to have any large or bulky gifts shipped to your destination, or a nearby destination if you can't trust your relatives not to peek at their gifts.
Travel On The Holiday Itself
OK, so waking up at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving to fly to your in-laws' place for the holiday weekend may not sound like the most thrilling plan, but traveling the day of can save you tons of money, since nobody else wants to travel that day either. In fact, booking a flight for Thanksgiving day could save you up to 30 percent on airfare. Seems worth it to me!