It’s one of the most elusive quests for travelers. How can you save money on holiday travel?
Fortunately, Virtuoso has seven novel money-saving ideas for you. Virtuoso’s global PR director, Misty Ewing Belles, shared strategies to save money on holiday travel on NBC’s TODAY Show Dec. 11. Discover her insider tips below:
Buy on weekends
Book your flights on weekend mornings to save money on holiday travel. Says Belles, “In fact, if you book on a Sunday morning versus a Friday morning, you can save up to 13 percent.”
Be flexible with the days you fly
Many people make the most of their weekend by flying out on a Friday and home on a Sunday. But Belles recommends a shift in thinking: “If you fly out early Saturday morning and return early on Tuesday morning, you’re going to get great fares.”
Fly on the actual holiday
If you fly on the holiday itself instead of before it, you’ll save. “You’re going to find much better fares if you travel on Christmas, on New Year’s and travel in the morning or in the evening because that’s still going to be better than flying midday,” Belles advises.
Use multiple transactions to book a number of seats
You’re shopping for airfares online. You see a great fare and want to lock it in. If you’re booking air for a family of four, it saves you time to book it in one transaction. But that likely won’t save you money.
“If you’re buying for a family – four, five seats or so – book them separately,” Belles recommends. “If you’re trying to book four, five, six seats you’re going to be pushed up into the higher rate category. If you buy them individually, you’re going to get at least some of the seats if not all of them at this lower fare.”
Savvy travelers can do this on their own. But savvy travel advisors like Virtuoso’s can do it more efficiently. “If you work with a travel advisor who has direct access into the airline’s distribution system they can book those for you individually, link them together and save you hundreds, maybe thousands,” Belles explains.
Pay more for the club floor
Hotels that cater to business travelers often have a club floor with extra perks. Families should consider booking rooms on that floor to ultimately save money on holiday travel. “You may pay $50 more or so to stay on the club floor,” Belles explains. “But you’re going to get complimentary breakfasts, snacks and beverages throughout the day, and you’re really going to recoup that savings, especially for a family.”
Ask for an extra night free
Stay for more than two nights, and some hotels will give you an extra night on the house. The catch? You have to request it. Says Belles, “A lot of hotels are offering third and fourth night free but they’re not publishing that or advertising it. So if you’re staying for multiple nights, go ahead and ask for it.”
Do the math to save money on holiday travel
Belles advises travelers to keep all their trip expenses in mind. Many people only count on the big-ticket items like airfare or hotels. “Look at the entire trip,” she recommends. “Look at transportation, look at costs, look at food, look at activities and budget from that standpoint.”