Estimated Monthly Savings: $150
Flying during the holiday season can be stressful and expensive. After spending so much money on Christmas presents for the family, the last thing you want to do is dish out another $13 for a bottle of water and a mediocre airport sandwich.
Follow these three tips to reduce the stress on your wallet this holiday travel season:
1. Review Carry-on Policies
The simplest way to reduce holiday travel costs is to fly a low-cost airline. However, most low-cost airlines charge customers for checked baggage which may offset the money you saved on the ticket. To avoid this expense, read the airline’s carry-on policy thoroughly.
Most low-cost airlines have a fine print baggage policy that permits one personal item and one carry-on item under 50 lbs. If possible, rearrange your packed suitcase to fit into a book-bag (one personal item) and duffel-bag (carry-on item under 50 lbs) to avoid the checked bag fee.
An added bonus to this method is that you do not have to wait at the baggage carousel once you land or worry about your luggage getting lost in transit.
2. Pre-pack Snack Foods
Plastic ziplock bags and an empty water bottle can save you from the anguish of purchasing food at the airport.
The TSA permits passengers to bring through security food in clear ziplock bags. Packing a homemade PB&J and baggie of cheez-its is much tastier and more cost-effective than purchasing the day-old mushy sandwich from the in-flight menu.
However, the TSA will not allow you to bring a bottle of water through security, even if it is unopened. A clever way to circumvent this rule is to bring an empty water bottle and fill it at a water fountain after you get through security.
3. Join Rewards Programs
An easy way to save money on future airline travel is to join frequent flyer programs for each airline you fly. You will accrue points and receive special offers from the company that can save you money in the future. Most hotel chains have similarly structured rewards programs.
Further, investigate rewards programs you have already joined because your membership may make you eligible for other travel-related discounts. For instance, a Hilton Honors membership will get you a discount on a rental car with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.