With the holidays looming, millions of Americans will line up at airport terminals grimly hoping that they’ll survive their air travel experience with their bank account intact after all the extra fees. If you booked your holiday travel in advance this season, domestic airfare was expected to be down 1.4 percent overall, with tickets averaging $302, as opposed to $306 last holiday according Bing Travel. But if you’ve waited until the last minute to book your holiday travel plans, you still have options. The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, has valuable advice for everyone traveling this season to avoid the ho-ho-hums of holiday travel.
Travel Tip #1: Road Trips vs. Air Travel Can Save Thousands of Dollars for Families. If you’ve waited until the last minute to book a flight, you’re going to have a challenge finding a great airfare Christmas week but there still may be time for New Year getaway deals. Driving instead of flying can save you two ways – a family of four can save thousands of dollars in airfare even with the price of gasoline on a road trip. You’ll also save hundreds of dollars on luggage fees.
Travel Tip #2: Book a Reservation at an All-Suite Hotel vs. Standard Hotel. Savings is about getting more bang for your buck so stay at a hotel that gives you more value than just a standard hotel like an all-suites hotel. Embassy Suites Hotels is the only full service hotel that gives you a two-room suite for the price of one room. This holiday season, they are also giving away a $10,000 online shopping spree. You can enter to win at EmbassySuites.com and you receive one entry for every night you stay between now and January 31st.
Travel Tip #3: Never Pay for Breakfast. If you book the right hotel, you should never have to pay for breakfast which can save a family of four several hundred dollars over a one-week vacation or trip. Look for hotels that provide a breakfast as part of the lodging fee, like Embassy Suites that includes a free cooked-to-order breakfast. This can be a significant savings when you travel with kids.
Travel Tip #4: Get Local Deals at Your Drive-To Destination through Tourism Websites. No matter where you live, road trips are a trend this winter because of the savings. Recent holiday travel polls show that Americans are sticking with their cars instead of braving airport hassles and are choosing closer to home getaways for winter breaks. Connecticut, the Closer Than You Think state, is a great drive to destination and a fun winter escape with four different areas for snowboarders and skiers of all levels. Places like Mohawk Mountain have seven ski lifts and snowmaking capabilities plus affordable packages for children starting at $27 a lift ticket. Beyond the slopes, there’s Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration and a free planetarium show at Mystic Seaport. You can find lots of getaway ideas and discounts at dozens of area hotels, restaurants, attractions and shops at CT Visit.com .
Travel Tip #5: Don’t Forget to Use Travel Reward Programs to Save. Travel reward programs and credit card rewards have more ways to use points for travel items outside of hotel rooms and airfare and include activities and meals when you arrive.
The biggest trend is that overall, travel spending for holiday travel is up from a year ago and 41% of people traveling are spending $500 or more. Also, travel technology and the latest apps that make travel easy are trending in travel.
Don’t forget to use defensive flying tips BEFORE you board the plane. That means use technology first to find out about delays in advance and have a back up plan including phone numbers or email addresses programmed in your phone so you can let your family know about delays – especially if you have someone picking you up at your destination. Also, make sure you have a boredom buster bag for the kids with games, books and electronics so they don’t cranky.
Admission fees to theme parks and local tourist attractions can really add up and max out your vacation budget, but you can save up to 55% on theme parks with Go City Cards. I've used these for several vacations and saved hundreds of dollars. Just one of my many best travel deals tips you'll find on this website. ~Marianne Schwab
Avoid Jet Lag
You're packed and ready to go on vacation, so now comes the most important issue at hand: avoiding jet lag when you arrive at your destination. A survey by Conde Naste said that 93% of travelers get jet lag but you don't have to be one of them if you use my tips. ~Marianne Schwab
Book Your Trip
Booking travel online should be quick and easy…not to mention affordable and that's why I like Expedia. Did you know that you can save up to $525 when you book your flight and hotel together at Expedia.com? For the best deals, book 60 days or more before you travel because usually the further out you plan, the better the package rate.
Top Travel Mistakes to Avoid Now
I have put together a list of the top five travel mistakes people make that translate into paying too much for a vacation no matter where you book your trip (through a travel agent, airline or online). ~Marianne Schwab
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About Marianne Schwab
TV Travel Show Producer
For over twenty years, TV Travel Show Producer, Marianne Schwab, has been collecting money saving travel tips as a travel producer for high profile television programs. She has flown all over the world and produced live television productions on location from Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip to the beautiful island of Oahu. Read more