Making the Most of your Holiday Travel Budget

If you’re like many Americans, you’ll be traveling to visit family and friends during the upcoming holiday season.  Holiday Travel seems to have become more stressful as I’ve gotten older, and certainly now that we have a toddler eager to walk and explore the world.

Growing up in South Louisiana, holiday travel was about driving to visit my mother’s parents, but now it’s about flying to Chicago to visit my wife’s family.  Here are a few tips on how you can make the most of your family time, and save some money in the process.

  • Skip the Hotel and stay with Family or Friends. – One travel expense we never incurr during the holidays is that of a hotel room.  It’s an easy expense to avoid when the point of our trip is to spend time with family and have our daughter get to know her cousins.  While it would be nice to have our own space from time to time, we get so much more family time in by staying with family members than we would otherwise.
  • If Flying – avoid flying on the prime travel days. We often fly up for Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving morning.  This works out quite well with my wife’s family events, and we arrive at her aunt’s home with time to spare, and having saved some money and had a far less stressful flying experience by avoiding the day before’s crowds and struggles.  This same logic applies for return flights, where returning on Monday instead of Sunday saves us both money and headaches at the airport.
  • If Driving – check your tires and tire pressure.  According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics 91% of long-distance travel during the holiday season is by car.  It’s easy to overlook, but the two easiest safety checks you can perform on your car are to check the tire tread and tire pressure.  If your tires are worn or have cracks or other damage, it’s far better to replace them before a trip than deal with your tire jack on the side of the interstate.  Checking your tire pressure at the same time can help you get better gas mileage, as well as potentially avoid a major blowout which can be quite dangerous at highway speeds.

Just a few simple thoughts can help you have a safer and more enjoyable holiday season. How do you plan to spend your holidays?