We’re at the time of year where traveling gets busier, pricier and possibly a little more stressful than any other time of the year as everyone heads off to celebrate the holiday season. Post-covid travel also comes with its own complications as flight delays and baggage problems are much more common. But no fear we are here to help. Check out these hacks for an easier trip this winter.
It always helps to book early and especially now. Prepare yourself for higher prices but if you book early or at unsociable times you could still find a deal. For international flights 2-3 months in advance is recommended versus 2-3 weeks for domestic travel. According to research the best time to get a good deal on flights is at 5am on a Sunday so set your alarm and start looking, you can always go back to bed!
Stay away from bottle neck days
If you can avoid the Wednesday before and Monday after Thanksgiving you’ll be able to find kinder prices and a less stressful trip. Similarly just before or after Christmas and New Year’s Eve will be peak people time. If you are traveling for a vacation and not to celebrate an occasion, the big holiday days could be your friend. International flights on Christmas day or Thanksgiving are often much cheaper than other days of the year.
Set travel alerts
Some advance tickets are not released as early as they used to be since covid so it pays to keep on top of the game and set some Google alerts for flights or train ticket prices. If you feel like you’ve left it too late, set an alert on a flight you want and monitor it for a few days- if it doesn’t go down or starts to go up, jump on it as quickly as you can.
Avoid budget airlines if you can
The prices may be tempting but budget airlines are experiencing more delays and they only have small fleets, so if one flight is delayed it can cause havoc with the rest of the schedule. Full service airlines may cost a bit more but could save you money in the long run, and are much more likely to offer you compensation or alternative travel options if you are delayed.
Avoid planes altogether if possible!
Can you get where you want to go by train? Or even a long distance bus? It might not be as convenient but it could save you stress and time and the good thing is you can keep your luggage with you so no nasty surprises at the carousel on landing. If you’re going on vacation it can be a great way to see more of the country too.
Some savvy travelers have been fitting tracking tags to their luggage so they can always keep an eye on where it ends up. It might sound extreme but could give you peace of mind if you’re traveling with gifts. The Apple airtags have been approved for flights and have access to the Find My network which enables accurate tracking even in busy airports. When you’re not traveling you can keep it on your keys or in your handbag so you’ll never have to annoy people again when you lose something.
Factor in delay times
That cheaper late night flight may look like a good option when you’re booking but if you are even slightly delayed it could have a knock on effect for onward travel. If you’re traveling with kids, delays can be a nightmare so make sure you download extra movies, pack a million more snacks than you think they could possibly eat, and charge all your devices. If you take a Solgaard Juicepack you can charge up to four devices at once using wireless charging so you won’t have to go searching for an outlet in the airport.
Consider the airport lounge
If you’re traveling far or have a layover it may be worth splashing out to use the lounge. Restaurants and shops will be crowded and wait times longer during this chaotic travel season so if you can escape to somewhere quiet and comfortable it might save your trip. Often credit cards give you access to lounges or it's sometimes possible to find discount vouchers online.
You don’t have to celebrate when everyone else does!
If you really don’t want to pay the elevated prices for holiday travel you can always go against the grain and celebrate with family and friends another time. What better way to brighten up a long cold January than have a weekend together for a much cheaper price. Food, decorations and presents will all be reduced too! We like to call it partying outside the box.
However you travel and wherever you go we hope you have a restful holiday season celebrating what makes you happy.
Written by Laura Sedlak