10 proven ways to afford winter travel
Thanksgiving is behind us. Our jeans are a bit tighter, the weather is chillier, and December is here.
Whether you haven’t had time to make the travel plans you want, or a last minute travel bug has bitten, you’re probably asking yourself, “Can I still afford to book a trip this holiday?” Maybe you’re wondering if you want to treat yourself and finance a vacation to somewhere a little more expensive. Whatever your travel scenario is this season, we’ve got a list of tools and suggestions that will come in handy.
First, the basics ~
Flexible dates: The more flexible your dates are, the more opportunity there is for savings. If you’re flying, focus on off-peak days of the week and dates on or immediately around Christmas and New Year’s. According to this video from FareCompare, the lowest cost days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Over the holidays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve night are good bets.
Flexible destinations: If you have flexibility around destination, finding a deal is much more likely. Check out PriceofTravel’s 19 Cheap and Warm Places to go over Christmas & New Year’s weeks for lounging by a pool or on the beach.
Off-season: Think off-season for your destination. While you’ll find colder weather in Europe during the winter months, you’ll also find better prices in many major cities. Domestically, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas in places like Las Vegas, San Diego, Myrtle Beach and Hawaii tend to be less expensive. Go to Brad’s Deals for off-season suggestions for the whole year.
Next, we love these websites for smart travel planning ~
FareCompare.com: Here you can search and compare cheap flights, set alerts for when fares go lower, and use our favorite feature — a map showing all the different places you can go from your home city and the current airfares. Brilliant! You’ll also find great travel tips & advice ; it’s one-stop travel shopping here.
PriceofTravel.com: We’ve highlighted this site before (see our blog on How to take an affordable European vacation), and we still love it for getting ideas on where to travel without budget-busting. Whether you’re looking for a Caribbean island getaway, a European itinerary or a review of whether City Passes are worth the price, you’ll find it here.
Skyscanner.com: Their travel search engine lets you search for deals on mainstream, budget and boutique airlines as well as hotels and car rentals all over the world. For the football fans amongst us, they’ve also got a unique tool, the Football Flight Finder, which allows you to enter your departure airport of choice and favorite NFL team to see flight options to all the cities your team is playing in for the rest of the season. You’ll score a ton of points with all the loyal NFL fans in your life when you share this awesome tool with them!
CheapAir.com: This one appeals to the data geek as well as the travel deal junkie in us. Besides the helpful fare and hotel comparisons, they provide a cool dashboard that reports on ‘Holiday Cheap Flights’ with information updated daily. They also offer info on rail travel options so you can throw that into the cost comparison mix and consider cities you wouldn’t otherwise.
Unsure whether you can afford the trip you’re dying to take? See what we can offer you for a getaway loan. With fair rates and flexible terms, it’s easy to fit payments into your budget. And, one of our loans is a whole lot smarter way to finance your vacation than putting some or all of it on credit cards. Read more about that, and other affordable travel tips in our Travel Blogs.
And then, think about how you could be seeing the lights of the holiday season in a wonderfully new locale this year.