2009 Five Ways to Save on Holiday Travel

November 2009:

Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom

Did you know that an estimated 41 million Americans took a trip last Thanksgiving, despite record prices for both gas and airfares?  The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are amonth the most popular times for Americans to travel. So will better deals on travel be availabel this year or are we in for a pricey holiday travel season?  Though airfares hit record highs last year, during the 2009 holiday travel season travelers should see significant relief on prices.  Now more than ever, travelers are seeking more value for thier money, but if you think peopel are shying away from travel for the holidas because of the current economy, think again.  Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom, has five ways to save on holiday travel.

Tip One:  The Internet is always your best source for last minute travel deals. The internet is always going to be your  best bet for last minute travel deals as inventory remains open during the season, hotels and cruise lines will start slashing rates to fill empty hotel rooms and cbins.  If you Google “last minute travel deals,” you will get a choice of great websites that have great last minute deals.  Though it may be tough to get great airfares for Thanksgiving, you can still find some deals in time fro Christmas and driving to your destinations that are within a day drive can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars in some cases.

Tip Two: Think ”off the beaten path” for Holiday Travel Deals. You want to think “off the beaten path” for the best holiday travel deals. East Coast Beach Destinations near Charleston, South Carolina, for example, where it’s off-season but temperatures may still be in the sixties offer great hotel deals.  Las Vegas before New Year’s has incredible deals.  You can get a Vegas hotel room for just $31 a night and the Excalibur has $29 24-Hour VIP Pass which allows you unlimited access to their buffet so you can eat for under $30 a day in Vegas.

Tip Three:  Avoid getting sick on your holiday trip or it will cost you.
There are a lot of things that can derail your holiday travel budget and getting sick can ruin your holidays and cost you not just in possible medical bills, but in opportunity cost since you’ve spent the money on your travel, but can’t enjoy your holiday. First, understand that you need to take defensive measures when you travel since you are in close contact with passengers in airplanes, buses, trains and even cruise ships which increases the chance of coming into contact with someone who is sick with a cold or flu.  Since flu is often transmitted hand-to-hand, you need to wash your hands often and avoid rubbing their eyes or nose.   Also, on a plane, don’t put your face directly on airline-supplied pillows or blankets that haven’t been cleaned. Now, if you do get sick while traveling, many doctors are now recommending homeopathic medicines to combat the first signs of flu or flu-like symptoms.  Here’s one I always travel with called Oscilloccocinum.  You take at when you first feel symptoms like feeling run down, headaches, body aches, fever and chills and it will reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.  There are no side effects like drowsiness or drug interactions.  And you can give it to kids age 2 and up.  Whether you’re on the road or at home, you can nip flu-like symptoms in the bud having it on hand.  Keep it in your travel bag, backpack or purse and more info is available at Oscillo.com.

Tip Four:  The latest trend is added value programs and travel packages where kids stay free, eat free and even sail free.
The latest travel trends involve added value to your travel package that includes everything from kids stay free, eat free and even sail free on cruises. Here’s a couple of current trends and deals:  Holiday Inn has a kids eat free program; several Cruise lines have a kids sail free program when traveling with 2 full fare adults and staying in the same state room including Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Costa; and another trend in cruising is offering free upgrades, ship board credits and even prepaid gratuities which can save you hundreds of dollars.

Tip Five:  Use technology so travel delays don’t cost you more than they have to. Here are a couple things you need to know so that travel delays don’t derail your budget. First, always keep a list of important numbers in your cell phone in the event that you’re delayed or a flight is cancelled. This includes a travel agent (if you use one), a number to the airline directly as it may be easier and quicker to get them on the phone than stand in long lines with other delayed passengers, and your hotel or local contacts that can assist you with re-routing your trip or avoid charges if you can’t get to your hotel. Keep in mind that airlines are not necessarily responsible for putting you up in a hotel due to weather delays, etc. One final thing that is always a good idea is travel insurance which can pay for a lot of additional fees depending on the policy that may include buying clothes if there’s a luggage mishap.


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