Planning to visit friends and family over the holidays, or just escape for a much-needed vacation? Here are tips from Travelocity Senior Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown to get there without breaking the bank.
Plan Ahead! Book your trip for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays as far in advance as you can. There will be a lot of demand for a limited number of seats, so finding any-last minute deals will be highly unlikely.
Have a goal and do your homework. Being an informed consumer can help you snag the best deal. According to Travelocity, the average cost for a round-trip domestic flight is $378 for Thanksgiving weekend 2010. Use this as a benchmark for the prices you are finding and the price you want to beat.
Timing is everything. What days you choose to fly around major holidays can lead to a significant difference in price. Sundays and Mondays tend to be the most heavily traveled, and means larger price tags--waiting until Tuesday can save you a bundle.
Book lodging and airfare together. You can save big if you book the airfare and hotel at the same time. A study by Travelocity shows double booking can save travelers up to $525.
Be flexible with lodging. There are deals to be found for hotels if you are flexible. Travelocity for example, has its 'Top Secret Hotels' program, which can save travelers up to 55% of the published rates if you are willing not to know the name of the hotel until after you book the hotel.
Travel light. Stick with a carry-on bag if you can. According to Travelocity, a family of four will pay as much as $200 more round-trip if they each check one bag.
Here are seven tips to beat the crowds and save your budget as you make your way to visit family and friends this holiday season.