Saturday, 23 December 2023

4 Common Mistakes That Make Winter Travel Expensive

by Earn Media

4 Common Mistakes That Make Winter Travel Expensive

Image source: Getty Images

Even where I live in the South, winter is quickly setting in, and on cold mornings, I begin dreaming of warmer places and abundant sunshine. That impulse is felt by millions of people around the country, causing many people to pick up their phones and hunt for winter travel deals.

If you’re planning your winter travel right now and don’t want to bust your budget, here are a few mistakes to avoid so you don’t overpay.

1. Waiting too long to book your vacation

While finding last-minute travel deals is possible, it’s likely you’ll pay more for your flight and hotel if you wait too long to book your travel.

The simple reason for this is that fewer flights and hotel rooms will be available the closer you get to your travel dates, so companies may not have any incentive to offer you a deal.

Instead, try to plan out your winter travel. A report from CheapAir.com found that the most reliable window for booking a cheap flight is between 46 and 164 days in advance.

2. Packing too much

Baggage fees are no joke these days. Nearly every airline charges for additional bags, and some even charge for one checked bag. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that baggage fees totaled $6.8 billion in 2022.

If you’re going somewhere warm for your winter travel, you may be able to easily cut back on how much luggage you bring. It may get a little trickier to do so if you’re visiting a destination where you’ll need lots of warm clothes, but taking time to think through what you need could save you some serious cash.

3. Not using credit card rewards you’ve accumulated

Overlooking your credit card rewards could be a big mistake when booking winter travel. Many credit cards offer points, cash back, or airline miles that can accumulate throughout the year.

This means you may be able to use hotel points or airline miles to lower your travel costs or even use your cash back rewards to pay for some of your travel expenses.

Similarly, if you travel frequently, it could be a big mistake not to have a travel credit card that allows you to earn rewards. You can even select a credit card specific to your preferred airline, such as a Delta Airlines credit card.

4. Not remaining flexible

Being flexible is one of the best ways to save on travel any time of the year, including for your winter vacation. Having rigid times for your flight times, dates, and what airports you leave from can all keep you from finding a good deal.

Instead, try to be as flexible as possible. Maybe your travel dates can’t change, but you can leave earlier or later in the day than you previously planned. Or, if you can’t change flight times and dates, perhaps there’s another airport nearby you can fly out of or return to that could lower your ticket prices.

The same goes for hotels. Switching around the dates or shifting away from expensive weekend bookings could help you reduce your costs.

Avoiding all of the above can help you save on your winter travel, but remember that there are almost always hidden fees when traveling, including resort fees, airline seat selection, and booking fees.

It’s a good idea to map out your travel budget ahead of time to figure out how you’ll pay for your trip. It may include using money from your savings account mixed with travel rewards. However you choose to pay for it, make sure you’ve tried to avoid these costly travel expenses to maximize your travel budget.

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