Last Minute Holiday Travel for Less

Thanksgiving TravelMany of us make plans to go out of town for the holidays, but some of us tend to wait until the last minute to secure our travel plans.  Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year to travel and with today’s rising costs of flights and gas it’s important to do everything we can to cut expenses to make our trips fun and budget friendly verses stressed and depressed.

Here are a few travel tips to make your holiday travel smooth.

  1.  If choosing to fly, try to fly out the weekend before the holiday.  With Thanksgiving next Thursday, that would mean flying out this weekend.  Airlines tend to have cheaper flights the week before the holiday verses the week of because they know most people will fly out a day or two before.   If you can take the time off work, try this method.
  2. If you are unable to travel the week before, try getting a ticket flying out Thanksgiving Day.  This works for other holidays as well.  Peak travel is usually the day before, so the day of, most people are already at their destinations.  I tried this one year for my friend’s wedding and the ticket was only $129 from Charlotte to D.C.
  3. If driving, try to carpool.  Often times we are driving the direction of a friend or family anyways.  For example, if I go home to Charlotte I have a cousin and several friends who also are from Charlotte that I could easily ride with or who could ride with me.  If I visit my in-laws I can carpool with my sister-in-law.  This cuts costs by costs sharing gas, tolls, and other fees.
  4. Treat your car to some TLC.  Get your tires rotated for better gas mileage.  Remove all excess items from your trunk.  You will already have luggage, but the heavier the car, the more gas you burn, so remove additional items, i.e. tennis rackets, gym bags, chair-in-a-bag…I’m speaking to myself!
  5. Fill your tank all the way up even if traveling only an hour or two away.  I know this sounds simple, but filling up your car with gas always is more costs efficient than putting in $15 or $20.
  6. This may be the time to take advantage of frequent flyer miles/programs, but be sure they don’t have blackout dates on the days you are looking to travel.
  7. Fly the airline that offers free baggage.  A $25 per bag fee can really add up, especially if traveling with a family.  A couple of airlines offering free baggage include: Southwest and Frontier, so target flying with them or use your airline credit card for free baggage.
  8. Shop around for the best prices on flights, hotels, and rental cars.  Some sights to try to set alerts and get emails as prices for your trip change are Travelzoo, AirfareWatchDog, and Yapta.  If actually ready to purchase try Best Fares, Priceline, Orbitz, Hotwire, TripAdvisor to name a few.  Also try for lodging and for overseas travel.
  9. Choose an alternate airport, if possible.  Sometimes flying into the smaller, less congested airport will offer a cheaper fair.  Like flying into Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach is often less expensive than flying into Miami.
  10. Holiday travel may be a good time to try something new like the Megabus.  Megabuses are often clean because they are newer.  They offer free wi-fi and you can charge your electronics directly from you seat.  If you do this, I would advise leaving out earlier verses later so you won’t be on a bus that is packed out like sardines.   You may also want to try travel by train.

I hope these tips help you have a fun and frugal time during your holiday and other travel.

Have a great travel tip you’d like to share?  Send your tips to

Head Shot 1  Lynesha McElveen is owner of Liberty Educational Group (L.E.G.) and is known as The Di$count Diva ™who teaches people how to, “Have the best  for le$$ and still have money in the bank.” For additional tips and information, visit her website at:  Also, follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as: TheDiscountDiva.



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