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Budget Travel Tips For The Holidays

Budget Travel Tips For The Holidays

Planning and traveling during this holiday season can be challenging with the recent health concerns of COVID-19. But even without those concerns, traveling can be stressful for you and your wallet. But, it doesn’t have to! We’ve put together this guide of budget-friendly travel tips for the holidays. They will help you to not only travel safely this holiday season but also travel smart and stress less while doing it. These travel tips and tricks will lighten the load on your wallet and lower the level of your stress while keeping you safe and healthy.

1 | Put Your Health First! 

Health & safety must be put first this holiday season – for you and your loved ones. 

If you are unwell, stay at home! If you have experienced COVID-19-like symptoms in the past 72 hours, consider having yourself tested prior to leaving for your trip.

Before you travel, it’s also a good idea to check the current regulations and mandates that are in place in the destination you’re traveling to.

When traveling this holiday season, be mindful and be sure to follow CDC guidelines and regulations including wearing a face mask and washing your hands frequently.

2 | Download Apps Ahead of Time

In a day and age where technology is at its prime, what better way to use technology to your advantage and reduce stress during your travels! Check to see if your overnight accommodations have an app so you can easily check-in and reduce contact with others. Two other great apps to use while planning your holiday travel are Hopper and Gasbuddy. 

  • Hopper is a great app for finding flights and keeping an eye on the costs before buying. The app will notify you when rates go up or down and give you insights into the best possible time to purchase.
  • Gasbuddy is great for those driving to their holiday destination. The app can show you what gas stations are close-by using your location and show you where to purchase the cheapest gas. You can also earn GasBack from qualified purchases.

3 | If You are Traveling by Plane…

When planning and preparing for your flight, there are a few things to remember that will help you lower costs, stay safe, and reduce stress. 

  1. Book directly at the airport – oftentimes when you book at the airport, you don’t incur the fees that you would if you were booking online. It can save up to $40 dollars per ticket!
  2. Safety first – we all know the importance of wearing a mask and washing our hands, but consider packing your own travel snacks and an empty water bottle. Airports usually have water fountains or water bottle refill stations where you can get FREE water. Besides saving money, this will reduce contact with others. 
  3. Know your layover – don’t allow your connecting flight to sneak up on you. Plan ahead to know exactly how long your layover is and how far apart the gates are.

*Pro Tip* Look into TSA PreCheck. You can save time and reduce stress by skipping the TSA line and not having to remove shoes, belts, liquids, coats, etc. The application only takes about 5 minutes online. Be sure you allow for 2-3 weeks before your holiday trip to receive the approval information. This membership is valid for 5 years so it’s well worth the spend!

4 | Save Money & Travel Well

  1. Carry-on versus checked bag – when possible, take advantage of the free carry-on provided by most airlines. You can save some money and avoid crowded luggage carousels. 
  2. Stay flexible – avoid the peak travel days (the day before and after the holiday). This will save money on plane tickets prices as well as reduce the number of people on your flight.

5 | If You Are Traveling by Car…

When planning your road trip this holiday season, let us help you make it the best road trip ever!

  1. Plan your route –knowing the route you will be traveling ahead of time allows you to map out your stops. We also recommend that you download your directions just in case you lose service in rural areas. 
  2. Don’t forget the snacks! –having a cooler packed up with snacks and drinks for the trip will reduce unnecessary stops and save time and money along the way. 
  3. The night before –when possible, pack up the car the night before. Carrying one bag and your cooler to the car in the morning is much easier than all of your bags. Gas up the car the night before when possible. This is a big time saver!

6 | The Art of Packing

Most airlines will allow you a carry-on that fits under the seat for FREE. Think savvy and try packing only must-take items into a large backpack or travel bag that will fit under your seat. Pack a few mix-and-match clothing options that can be washed while you’re traveling. (Bonus: InTown Suites offers on-site laundry facilities at its properties for your convenience.) When you arrive at your destination you can purchase toiletries needed –more on that later!

*Pro Tip* When flying, consider rolling your clothes, putting each day’s outfit into a ziplock bag, and pressing out the air. You can fit twice as much into a backpack as if you just fold your clothes.

*Pro Tip* Find a big box store like Walmart and grab the toiletry items you need for the length of your stay. You should also grab snacks and meal items to stock up on in your room. You can have some meals in and have snacks for your trip home.

7 | Make A List & Don’t Forget!

We want to be sure you don’t forget anything for your trip! Here are some of the commonly forgotten items to check-off your packing list before you leave:

  • Neck pillow and blanket
  • Earbuds, headphones, and/or earplugs
  • All IDs needed for traveling (license, passport, etc.)
  • Masks and gloves
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes

8 | If It’s Large – Ship It!

Again, avoid extra baggage fees and costs. If you’re planning to travel by air and have Christmas or Hanukkah gifts to transport too, you’re better off planning to ship those via regular snail mail or UPS. The key here is to plan in advance! Get your packages to the post at least a week or two before you arrive and have a designated friend or family member to ship to. You will end up saving yourself over $200 and no stress when going through baggage checks!

9 | Save Money & Sleep Well

Not to toot our own horn too loud, but InTown Suites is a great and inexpensive option when it comes to affordable hotels or lodging while traveling this holiday season. We have properties all over the country that offer weekly low rates that are typically lower than standard hotels in the area, even if you only plan on staying a few nights! We have in-room kitchens that include full-sized refrigerators, two-burner stove-tops and microwaves. Staying in and making your own meals is a great way to save money, here are some delicious Thanksgiving recipes you can make right in your room!

This is just one of the convenient and money-saving amenities that we offer. Find the InTown Suites nearest your holiday vacation destination!

We hope you can make use of these budget travel tips for the holiday season. Our goal is to make your holiday traveling safe, stress-free, and money-saving. We hope that you enjoy the time with your loved ones this holiday season!

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