Traveling During the Holidays? Use These Tips to Save Money and Avoid Stress

AAA predicted that over one-third of the American population planned to travel during the holiday season in 2018, spending an average of $561 for a roundtrip flight. That’s a lot of people and a lot of money. Overspending can cause more stress, putting a damper on your holiday spirit. However, if you are getting away during the holidays, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a good time.

Avoid breaking the bank

If you’ve decided to go on vacation during the holidays, you don’t want to replace all your holiday stress with just more vacation stress. The best way to do this is to keep your itinerary simple and stay on budget. Holiday air travel can be chaotic; the TSA estimates 41 million passengers traveled by air between December 19 and January 5, 2018. If you are looking for a last-minute flight deal, try flying on the holiday itself. Not only are flights typically cheaper on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day than during the days prior, but airports are generally less crowded as well. Use sites like Skyscanner or Google Flights to find low fares. Also, be flexible about layovers and the date of your return, and you may be able to secure a flight at a deep discount.

If your destination is relatively nearby, consider driving instead of flying. Be Frugal offers a flying versus driving calculator that can help you figure out which mode of travel is the more economical choice for you. If you are going to drive, have an emergency kit in your vehicle and review your auto insurance coverage before you hit the road. If it’s time for your insurance renewal, shop around to compare prices and coverage before locking in for the next year. For reliability and professionalism, look for top-rated companies that have been around for a long time, such as State Farm. Founded in 1922, State Farm boasts an A++ rating and has an 18 percent market share.

At your destination, rent a house or apartment rather than a pricey hotel room. With a vacation rental, you can get a cheaper rate, more space, and kitchen facilities – which should lead to less eating out. Look for free activities in the area, such as Christmas festivals, where you can hang out with the locals without spending much money.

Stay healthy during the holidays

It’s hard to stick to your diet or fitness goals during the holidays, and even more so when you are on vacation. And though it’s fine to indulge every once in a while and to skip a few workouts, you should still try to maintain healthy habits when you are away from home, which can help keep stress levels down. Eat a salad or vegetables first before the rest of your meal to avoid overeating. Also, empty calories in holiday cocktails can add up. Make smart drink choices, such as vodka and seltzer or some other low-calorie cocktail choices recommended by registered dietitians to Self.

When it’s not a true vacation

Maybe you are going out of town for the holidays, but it’s not exactly a true vacation – rather, you are visiting out-of-town relatives. Family gatherings during the holidays can be challenging. Expectations are high and personalities can clash. We are sometimes pressured into buying gifts we can’t afford or attending functions we don’t enjoy. Approach difficult relatives with a sense of humor, be realistic about your expectations and don’t use food or alcohol to cope with stress. If you don’t want to attend a particular event or don’t have the money to buy gifts for every single person in the family, then don’t. You deserve to enjoy the holidays without dealing with mounting pressures.

Whether you are flying to a holiday getaway to relax, or you are taking a road trip to visit relatives, you don’t need to bust your budget or stress yourself out. It’s a joyous time of year. And with a little planning, you can enjoy yourself this season no matter where you are headed.                Image thanks to Pixabay.

Here’s a great guide for Vacation Rentals.

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