Travelling over the holiday season? Check out these nine travel hacks – tips, tricks and tools for saving major moola and ensuring that your holiday travels are smooth sailing.
1) Save Major $ By Buying Your Flight at the Right Time.
Ever wished that you had a crystal ball to tell you when to purchase your flight? KAYAK’s search tool is the closest thing. It lets you search hundreds of travel sites at once to find the right flight, hotel, rental car or vacation package whether it’s for a specific date, weekend or the whole month.
I highly recommend using the whole month to find the best deals. As you can see from my search below, you can save over $400 by flying on December 16th or 18th instead of December 17th. Furthermore, if you’ve ever wondered whether or not now is the best time to buy, you’ll love KAYAK’s Forecast tool. It uses historical data to give you advice on whether the price is likely to increase or decrease within seven days. In the example above, I should purchase my flight to Calgary now. Otherwise, I risk having to pay more for my flight.
2) Be Aware of the 24-Hour Rule.
Ever bought a flight then found a better deal? Don’t you hate it when that happens? That’s why you need to be aware of the 24-hour rule. Most airlines, including Air Canada, will provide a full refund if you cancel your flight within 24 hours of purchase.
Trying to travel with presents is stressful. You don’t have enough space; you’re worried something might break. The list goes on. Instead, of buying a present, buy something that you can do together.
For example, if your favourite aunt is a foodie, treat her to lunch at the new bistro that just opened. You’ll be giving her the gift of time with you and sharing something that she loves.
Another option is to pool your funds for a trip for your loved one. Some family members and I did this for my mom. We all chipped in for a flight to Annapolis, Maryland where I was living at the time. My mom got to visit me and explore a new place at the same time. She still raves about the experience and says it’s one of the best gifts that she’s ever received.
4) Be Open to Exploring New Destinations.
Check out KAYAK’s Explore Feature for this. I love it! You choose when you want to travel, enter your budget and it shows you a list of all the amazing places you can fly to within that price range. When I did this, in the example below, Santa Ana came up. It wasn’t a destination that I’d previously considered, but now I’m intrigued. And I love the price. It also allows you to explore The Explore Feature also allows you to explore by interest. For example, you can choose from Underwater Worlds, Hiking Hotspots, Wine Regions and more. This is a great way to find new destinations that you’ll love.
5) Make Your Holiday Vacation Start on Your Flight.
Many travellers don’t look forward to flying, but it can be a pleasant experience with the right mindset. Instead of dreading a long flight, think of ways you can pamper yourself.
Is there a book that you’ve wanted to read but never seem to have time? How about listening to your favourite holiday playlist on Spotify? Or buying Swiss chocolate at the airport that you savour during your flight. You’ll not only enjoy your flight more; you’ll arrive feeling relaxed.
6) Travel with Peppermint Oil.
Peppermint can help soothe any in-flight nausea, freshen breath, and relieve sinus congestion. I love taking a few drops on a tissue then inhaling it. I feel so much more relaxed afterwards. A small bottle packs a big punch. It’s one of my must-haves when travelling.
7) Travel Only with Carryon.
Not only will it save you a ton of time packing, but it reduces having to wait around for your luggage, and you’ll never have to worry about the airline losing your luggage. Besides, with the shared experiences that you’re giving, you won’t have presents to carry.
8) How to Pack Only Carryon.
To get the most space, I recommend rolling like items together, i.e. shirts, then putting them in a packing cube. I also carry a packing cube for dirty clothes.
You’ll want to choose versatile items that you can wear for numerous occasions. One of my favourites is a black lace top. It looks equally good with jeans as it does with a dressy skirt. I just add a long necklace and red lipstick, and I’m good to go.
The other trick is to reduce the number of shoes that you bring since these take up a ton of space. I usually wear a pair that has a small heel, and that look equally good with jeans or a dress – versatility and runners for when I want to be more active. That’s usually enough.
9) If you’re travelling to a new destination, research how to get from the airport to your hotel before you leave home.
You want to have that holiday feeling when you arrive. Nothing will zap it quicker than figuring out how to get to your hotel from the airport and which taxis you should avoid.
That’s why I always research this before I leave. Most airport websites will have a section explaining the different options and how long they take. That way you can decide whether it’s worth it to splurge on a cab or save money by taking the train which can be just as quick.
These are my top travel hacks for the holiday season.
This post was brought to you in partnership with KAYAK.