Written by Barb Miller, Certified Financial Counselor and Bankruptcy Specialist with LSS Financial Counseling

The holiday weekend is here and it seems impossible to get through the weekend without traveling somewhere. And after all of the holiday shopping the costs can seem pretty scary. That’s why it is so important to plan ahead and save for the extra expense we all have this time of year.

If you plan on traveling over the holidays, like I do, your holiday costs will be even higher than those who stay put the next few weeks. Whether you plan to travel by car, bus, train, boat, or plane, these steps may help you reduce your travel costs.

Pack some snacks: Packing snacks is easiest to do if you are driving to your holiday destination. Haul a cooler with food and drinks to keep your family satisfied. However, no matter how you travel, you can bring along fruit, some crunchy snacks (granola, crackers, power bars), and even water to stave off hunger and thirst. Whether you buy food when you stop for gas, or from the airport snack shop, you can save plenty by planning ahead. It may also keep you from gulping down fast food between connecting flights, or when you stop for gas.

Tips for Flying:

  1. If you plan to drive to the airport, check into parking away from the airport. Otherwise, plan to pay high parking fees just for the convenience. Perhaps there is a local shuttle service you can use. Or better yet, ask a friend or family member to drop you at the airport while you park at their place. Just be willing to return the favor sometime!
  2. Be a little more flexible about flight times. If you are willing to travel at night or in the wee hours of the morning, flights are typically cheaper. So, decide if you want to save money or fly prime time.
  3. Depending on everyone’s schedule, you could look into flying on the actual holiday and celebrate the day after.
  4.  Do NOT wrap any gifts you have packed away in your luggage. Remember, airport security has the right to unwrap those gifts and it won’t be pretty! Save yourself the time and cost of wrapping gifts twice!

A few other tips:

Smartphone Users: AAA offers a free mobile app that is GPS-based. With this online tool, you can find local hotels, current gas prices, free trip directions, and local attractions by simply using your smartphone.

Hotel Parking Fees: Before you make your hotel reservations, call ahead and check with the front desk to see how much parking fees will run. Surprise costs can surely put a damper on anyone’s holiday spirits, not to mention your budget plan!

Whether or not you are traveling, have a safe and joyous holiday season from all of us at LSS Financial Service!

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