How to Save Time and Money Booking Your Holiday Travel

Booking travel during the holidays can be a stressful, expensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple tricks, you can save money on things such as airfare, car rentals, and accommodations. You can also save time by concentrating your focus on a few select ways to save money, leading to you maximizing your overall savings.

Have Fare Alerts Sent to Your Mobile Phone and Email

One of the easiest ways to ensure you get the lowest available airfare is to set an alert. You choose your price, dates, and airports, and then any time a fare dips below a specified dollar amount, you’ll be sent an alert via email or your mobile phone. The best website for this is Kayak.com. Kayak searches most of the major airlines, and then lets you know when airfare that meets your preferred amount is available. Since the lowest airfares tend to sell out quickly once they’re released to the general public, having a website alert you as soon as these airfares are available is a great way to have a chance to be one of the first to buy them.

One thing to be aware of is that between Halloween and Christmas, airline tickets for domestic travel typically increase $5 every week. If you know where you will be going for the holidays, purchase your ticket sooner rather than later to ensure the best price.

Bundle For Maximum Savings

For maximum savings, consider using one of the big travel sites, such as Travelocity, Orbitz, or Expedia, to bundle your travel over the holidays and save a substantial amount of money. Oftentimes, you can get a hotel and a flight for the same price you would have paid for the flight alone. If you’ll be staying with family at your destination, you can still bundle things like your flight and your rental car, which can help you save big.

Use Discounts

Some discounts, such as AAA, are more obvious, but others you may not think about using. If you’re a member of AARP, many travel agencies offer discounts, even if they don’t advertise it. Even if you’re not a member of AARP, many hotels, airlines, and car rental agencies will offer discounts to retired people. Students can also get discounted rates on everything from airfare to accommodation by booking their holiday travel with websites such as STATravel.com and StudentUniverse.com.

Use Bidding Websites For Maximum Savings

If you’re flexible, using a bidding website for everything from flights to accommodations can lead to huge savings, even around the holidays. Of course, with flights, you have to be incredibly flexible, as your flight could depart and arrive at any time of the day and you don’t get to see which airline you’ll be flying until after you’ve already purchased your ticket. But you do get to choose how many stops you’re willing to make and what airports you’re willing to use. Priceline and Hotwire are the two best websites for this.

Priceline and Hotwire are particularly good for bidding on hotels and rental cars. For information on how to get a great deal on a hotel, check out BetterBidding.com. It’s a message board where people post the great deals they received on particular hotels from across the United States and even around the world. This makes it easy to get a good idea of how much to bid and what kind of hotel you might end up staying in should you choose to bid.

Guest author, Thomas Hathaway, is a financial consultant and suggests there are times when a payday loan may come in handy when you have financial urgency prior to your regular pay date.

FatWallet Tip:

Check out the travel discussions forum and the travel deals here on FatWallet for fantastic deals, many of which offer cash back for your holiday or anytime travel!

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