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Frugal Friday-Holiday Travel Edition

24 Dec

I wish I was one of those fortunate people who didn’t have to travel for the holidays. But seeing I have family in Indiana, California and Florida, the hustle and bustle of holiday travel is inevitable. Here are some tips to keep your holiday travelling a little more wallet friendly.

*If your destination is within driving distance to you, calculate what would be cheaper-driving, flying, taking a bus, train, etc. Earlier this year, I had planned on driving 11 hours to Florida and taking Lincoln with me. Then I started to think about how I would have to take a day off for each 11 hour drive, spending time with family and not to mention another day off for recuperating along with what the average price of gas was at that time. I got that number, waited a month or so and looked up flights online and it was cheaper in the long run to get a flight and board Lincoln. I think it comes down to how much convenience means to you and if you get a lot of days off.

  • If you drive, bring a cooler with you. You can save so much money by doing this as opposed for stopping at some random locations that won’t offer the healthiest of options. I try to make a sandwich, yogurt, diet soda, trail mix and nuts and you can pack with ice packs or buy a cooler than keeps your food cold.
  • Stop somewhere and eat your food if you bring some along. If weather permits, I try to stop at a well-lit rest area since they offer a number of covered and uncovered picnic tables. This is also safer than driving while mindlessly eating while trying to navigate. Also a great opportunity to refresh yourself both mentally and physically by going for a walk around the area.
  • Network! If you’re making a long drive and need to stop somewhere for a night, see if you know someone in that area and ask if you could crash at their place for a night. Keeping in touch with many of my sorority sisters helps in this instance since it seems like a majority of us are somewhere on the East coast.  It never hurts to ask, the worst they can say is no. If you do find someone who can take you in for a night, it sure beats spending $80 on a hotel room you will be in for less than 12 hours. Be sure to get your host a nice little thank you gift if doing so.

If you’re flying……

*Bring  snacks with you. There’s no rule saying you can’t bring food with you through security (unless it’s liquid over the allowed amount) so why not? I usually bring a bar with me and buy a banana or apple at the supermarket on the way to the airport. I saw a food kiosk selling a banana for $1.49 each when I was in Minneapolis this past summer and absolutely refuse to spend that much–it’s bananas (Cmon, I had to say it!) This will also help curb your appetite so you don’t give into a huge pork bbq platter at the BBQ stand at the airport at 10AM.

*Instead of buying magazines for $4 or $5 (seriously, when did magazines get this expensive?), go to your local library and grab some reads there….for free! I especially love the title of the book on the right.

*Bring a water bottle with you. Even though we can no longer bring large amounts of liquid with us, we can still bring empty containers. I’ve been drinking water out of sink faucets and water fountains for 31 years and I’m still alive. I don’t need to have  special filtered water all the time and can fill up for free at the airport. It’s better than buying one for $3 and wasting a plastic bottle.

*Carry on your luggage if possible. This is pretty much non negotiable for me at this point with the insane prices that airlines are charging for you to check a bag. I am horrible with choosing outfits and am more of a wear-what-I-feel-to-reflect-my-mood kind of girl but with traveling, I get a little more flexible. If I’m going somewhere chilly, I pack a couple of sweaters (always wear one on the plane to save room in my suitcase) and pack layers. Luckily, I’m not a shoe person so I will pack a pair of boots and sneakers if I’m going to a cooler climate and flips and dressy shoes if I’m going somewhere warmer.

*Try to book a flight on an airline that you have a frequent flier mile account set up. I try to fly US Airways as much as possible since I’ve been a part of their Dividend Miles program since 1998. I’ve gotten a few free round trips out of the miles I’ve earned so it definitely adds up.

*Be kind. Ok, not a saving money point but when traveling, we are all trying to get somewhere. If someone is being abrasive or rude, it’s probably in reaction to something else going on in their life. I try not to let others rudeness bother me and if it does irritate me I ask myself  “Is their behavior going to affect me in one month?” 99.9% chance it’s not.

*When you get to your destination–kick back, relax and enjoy the holiday season with your friends and/or family. The holidays can be so hectic and sometimes friends and/or family just add to that stress but take a step back and see how thankful you are to be spending the time with loved ones.

What are some of your budget friendly holiday traveling tips?

Are you travelling for the holidays?

Hope you all have a happy, safe and warm holiday-wherever you may be and whatever you may celebrate!