As the holiday season approaches, the festive spirit fills the air, and the allure of travel beckons once again. Whether you’re brimming with excitement or dreading the crowds and delays, one thing is certain: holiday travel is upon us. An estimated 54 million people are expected to embark on journeys this week, with 48 million hitting the open roads. It’s time to rev up those engines because Young Finance 101 is here to ensure you’re well-prepared for your holiday adventures.
Create a travel fund.
With the holiday season comes increased airfare prices. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but it’s not too late to plan for upcoming holiday travels, including Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day. Consider setting up a dedicated savings account solely for travel expenses. This account will cover everything from airfare to accommodations, dining, and shopping. Check out Charles Schwab Bank, which offers fee-free international travel options, including many no-fee account options.
Speaking of banks, remember to withdraw cash rather than exchange it when traveling. Charles Schwab doesn’t impose fees for ATM withdrawals. While the ATM provider might charge a convenience fee, Charles Schwab reimburses those charges. It’s a traveler’s delight!
Take advantage of travel rewards.
Maximize your credit card rewards by using cashback or points-earning cards for bill payments. Accumulate points for airline miles or receive cashback on your purchases. These rewards can translate into free flights, airport lounge access, or even cover your ticket costs. When booking accommodations, explore deals offered by credit card companies for additional savings.
Frequent travelers should consider investing in a Priority Pass, granting access to over 850 airport lounges across the nation. Starting at $99 annually, it provides a comfortable respite, especially during layovers or flight delays.
Protect your belongs.
Navigating crowded holiday spaces can be a challenge. Protect your belongings by using a closed (zippered) purse or a compact, shoulder-friendly bag when out and about. For gents, consider stashing your wallet in your front jacket pocket rather than the back pocket for added security.
Save money on buying food.
Longing for that Thanksgiving feast? Be prepared if you’re traveling a considerable distance. Pack snacks in your carry-on to curb cravings during your journey. For road trips, prepare sandwiches, drinks, and snacks to minimize stops and stay on schedule.
Compare prices and save.
If you’re looking to save on future holidays, consider layovers, especially if time isn’t of the essence. Compare flight plans on different days of the week; Tuesdays and Wednesdays often offer more budget-friendly options. Additionally, don’t overlook alternative modes of transportation like buses or trains, which can save hundreds of dollars.
Upon arrival at your destination, skip the rental car expenses and Uber rides. Instead, explore the city on foot or use local transportation. Immerse yourself in the local culture, take in the sights, and engage with the community.
Get out and embrace the local culture.
Embrace the local cuisine for a more authentic experience. Before ordering, check if the restaurant has an app or offers deals to save on your meal. If you’re staying in a place with a kitchen, prepare your own meals to save a bundle and redirect that money toward exciting activities, sightseeing, and adventures. Don’t forget to explore free days at local attractions and museums; many major cities offer complimentary admission.
Stay with family & friends.
Another excellent way to save money is by staying with friends or relatives during your travels. Be a gracious guest by helping out around the house, doing the dishes, or even cooking a meal as a token of appreciation.
Savor the experience.
Lastly, amid the holiday rush, remember not to overstuff your itinerary. It’s impossible to visit every destination on your list and truly savor the experience. Take a moment to relish the journey, capture memories through photos and videos, and create lasting holiday mementos.
We hope these tips help you plan your holiday travel or future vacations. Do you have any suggestions or tips for our readers? Please share your insights in the comments below. As always, at Young Finance 101, class is always in session.