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This is a guest post from Kathryn Katz with some great tips to help you save money on your holiday travel. See more about Kathryn at the end of this post.

Last year travelers cashed in big when travel industry panicked and lowered prices right before the holiday travel rush. The airlines weren’t prepared for Q4 2008 travel backlash, and lowered prices to entice consumers to make last minute travel plans. However, this year many airlines are grounding more planes and the tide has turned for consumers. Less seats and greater demand are causing airfare rates to rise.


How can you save on holiday airfares?


#1 Stop Procrastinating
Unlike last year the longer you wait, the more you’re going to pay. If it’s in your budget, book now rather than wait for the airfares to get lower; otherwise, you may end up paying more and give up the convenience of traveling when you want to.


#2 Be Flexible
Avoid traveling during the popular Wednesday-to-Sunday trip. Many of the major airlines, such as American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta, are adding a $10 surcharge to those holiday airfares. Instead, consider flying Tuesday to Saturday. According to Bing’s holiday forecast, you can save up to 20% if you’re flexible with your travel plans.


#3 Compare Prices
There are hundreds if not thousands of price comparison travel websites. Some of the popular travel websites include Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline. Bing.com even offers a price comparison between travel websites, such as Hotwire, Expedia and Priceline. Before you buy that ticket at one of these bargain travel sites, make sure to go direct to the airline and see if you can get a better deal. Sometimes dealing direct with the airline can save you money.


#4 Avoid the Up-sell
If you’re booking your airfare online, many travel sites will try to up-sell a travel package. In some cases, booking everything in one place will save you money, but sometimes that convenience will end up costing you more. Break the travel package apart and make sure you’re really getting a deal. Also, check with relatives and see if you can stay with them to avoid the hotel and car rental fees. Sure you’re giving up a little independence, but it can make the whole trip a lot less expensive.


#5 Travel Light
Most major airlines charge baggage fees to travelers that are checking in bags, and limit the size and weight of the carry-on bag. Check with your airline ahead of time to find out their specific rules and alter your packing plans accordingly. Some airlines will offer reduced fees if you pre-pay for bags on their website. If you’re bringing gifts to the family, limit it to what will fit in your bag or use gift certificates.


If you can’t take advantage of the prices now and have to wait to buy your tickets, setup a Fare Alert so you can keep track of airline fares for your destination on a daily basis. You might get lucky and find a last minute deal.

About Kathryn Katz

Kathryn Katz is an avid cat lover, single mom, internet marketer and professional copywriter. Kathryn is a Certified Personal Finance Counselor and works for Consolidated Credit Counseling Services.

3 comments

  1. jen // November 1, 2009 at 11:13 PM  

    To go along with traveling light, I like to buy gifts online (with free shipping of course!) and have them directly sent to a relative's home where I'll be spending the holidays.

  2. kenyantykoon // November 2, 2009 at 4:43 AM  

    these are nice pointers but unfortunately i will not be traveling because of the flatness of my wallets and the emptiness of my bank account. Maybe in the course of next year, i will globe trot a little :)

  3. Andrew // November 6, 2009 at 9:48 AM  

    Funny stumbling onto this. Me and the wife have been busy searching for low airfares which would fall anywhere near the holiday season (for business and not for leisure, unfortunately). Still waiting for my bonus to come in so we can but the ticket in cash though. This is a good read and will help us a lot.

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