With Thanksgiving just behind us, it is time to look on to the December holiday season. In my home we celebrate Christmas and this year we are taking a trip for the week.
I have no idea how I managed to get the week off but I am going to take full advantage. For this trip, we will be heading over to Texas. While we are there, we also plan to scope out some places that we might be moving to in the future.
It is no secret that last minute travel is more expensive throw a holiday into the mix and things can get out of hand quickly. Being prepared can help you save some money and stress. The first thing to do is check out flight prices. I have found that looking for flights online with Kayak (or similar) can lead to a whole lot of similar information. Try using the incognito tab for google. I have found some great deals that way. Your browser tends to remember things that can hinder you finding the best deals.
I always buy travel insurance with I travel to new areas. In the world of continuous travel, I have learned that if it can go wrong chances are it will. I don’t mean that to sound negative, just realistic. Research companies that specialize in this and choose one that is best for your needs. Then stick with them. Some offer discounts to repeat customers.
Be prepared to drive
I have two airports within an hour of my home but flights out of there are typically double (if not triple) in price. On the other side, ATL airport in Atlanta is only about a three-hour drive and the prices are much more manageable. You have to decide if the extra drive time and fuel expense is worth the savings on the tickets. In my case, I will be saving well over $1000 by driving to Atlanta for our flight.
I always make it a point to do a lot of research. I watch the weather reports intently in the weeks prior to travel and make adjustments to my luggage as needed. Even though this trip is what I would consider last minute, I still have plenty of time to play with what all I want to bring with me.
Now I am a woman and I do have the stereotypical obsession with shoes. That being said, I struggle with this part of packing. To top all that off I have a teenage daughter who loves make more than breathing. Shoes take up a lot of room in luggage and the airlines will only allow so much liquid in your carry-on bag. So we have had to get creative here more than once. I use the inside of my shoes for storage of smaller items that would normally be loose. My daughter, on the other hand, has taken to stock pilling bubble wrap.
Planning activities ahead can help with clothes and shoe selection as well. If you look into things you want to do at your destination, you can plan everything. You could also plan things that will allow you to make multiple uses of things. You don’t need a different pair of shoes for every day of the trip (I know that is hard to hear but it is true) and you don’t need 12 scarves for a 7-day trip. This also gives you a chance to narrow down places to eat so you are not all hungry and arguing over pizza or burgers.
These are a very important time and money saver. If you remember to pack snacks, you won’t have to stop as often on the road or go searching for “expensive” food at airports. Not to mention, gas station snacks are packed with sugar and that is a bad idea if you are stuck in the car with your children. Plus with the savings on flights comes a loss of meal services on most domestic flights.
Plan on taking some cash
It isn’t a good idea to just have cards or just have cash. Having some cash can save you some money too. Not everyone is a huge fan of credit cards and either they don’t accept them or charge a fee for the convenience. Also, cash is nice to have for tipping and such.
Take lots of pictures
Both on the road and from the plane. I know we all want to take pictures of the destination but the photos of the trip can be a journey of their own. You can turn your kids loose with a camera or the one on your phone. You will be amazed at some of the pictures you will find. Bonus, it keeps them busy in the back seat so you can read a book.