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!


8 Responses to “Frugal Friday-Holiday Travel Edition”

  1. Amy @ Second City Randomness December 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    I have to drive. I’d prefer to fly or take the train, but being as how I’m in the middle of nowhere, after you factor in time issues/train layovers/etc, it really doesn’t save me time or money. Boo…

    BUT, I do drive with my massive reusable water bottle, bring snacks (and um, keep them out of arm’s reach until I stop and stretch), and have friends in St. Louis that can take me in if the weather is bad or if I get too tired.

    After making this trip a million times, I’ve learned the good tricks. 🙂

    Have a fantastic Christmas, my dear!

  2. Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel December 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm #


  3. Katherine: Unemployed December 26, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    I so wish I was traveling! Great tips though

  4. Laury @thefitnessdish December 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    I hope you got everywhere safe and sound. I am one of the lucky ones that has everyone within 10 minutes of me. It has it’s ups and downs…but mostly I am grateful. Regardless of all the travel, I hope you had a wonferdul holiday!

  5. This Italian Family December 27, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Great tips! I’m so glad we were able to stay put this Christmas with both our families come to see us here, but these are great tips for any time we travel! 🙂

  6. 40daykedge December 27, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Luckily I don’t have to travel anywhere for the holidays. My aunt’s house is ten minutes away and my parents are 45 minutes away from me. But I could also see that holiday traveling is a fun adventure.

    Reading your tips I see that I am very big on convenience, food, gym and rest when I factor in travel plans. In addition to budgeting for money, I’ll consider how much time I will be spending traveling and how it will affect sleep time. Sleep is very important, it’s a foundation for how my food choices and workouts are going to go. If I’m tired then chances are I will eat crap food and not workout. I want to be in a good mood when I get somewhere therefore I will pay more if it means more rest.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

  7. Katie H. December 27, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    Great tips girl! Especially about being kind. Peeps need to chillax- people seem to lose sight of the big picture at this time of year.

    Thankfully, no traveling for me this holiday season. I hope your travels went smoothly!

  8. OliePants December 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    Thank goodness I did not have to travel more than 30 minutes by car this Christmas! Looks like you did it fabulously and made it in one piece! 🙂

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