Complications and irritations that happen when traveling during the holidays can, in fact, turn the most light-hearted traveler into a bit of a Scrooge. Your Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers advice for heading off hassles and minimizing the misery as you plan and undertake your holiday travel this year.
The increased demand for tickets inevitably leads to increased prices. We are currently in the post-Halloween period when airlines traditionally begin raising their ticket prices, so it’s vital that you act quickly to book your flights.
Below are some tips:
• Monday flights usually have the lowest ticket prices.
• Some airports are more expensive than others so check whether there is a less-pricey airport option.
• Some airlines such as Southwest are not on travel sites and can only be booked out of their company’s website.
• When searching online, avoid using phrases like “best deals” as your search results may lead you to official-looking websites that are really designed to rip you off.
• Nonstop flights help you avoid the danger of missing a connection.
• Carry on bags to save time but know that overhead baggage bins fill up quickly since everyone else is trying to do the same thing.
• Don’t overlook extra fees such as for baggage or extra leg room.
• Try to get seats near restrooms if travelling with small children.
• Load the airline’s app on your phone when you know which one you are flying with.
• Travel insurance can be helpful if you are flying during the time of year that weather (or illness) can interfere with flight schedules. Check to see if your credit card offers similar coverage as some do for free.
• Flying early in the day is less risky for flight cancellations and delays. It can also help if such issues force you to seek another flight as there are logically more optional flights to move your reservation to.
• Consider shipping presents and avoid the hassle of carrying them onboard.
• If using a Groupon travel deal, read the fine print. Taxes and other fees probably aren’t included. Check carefully for expiration dates, cancellation fees and blackout travel dates.
• You probably cannot carry on those holiday food treats you’d like to arrive with. At a minimum they will be subjected to careful security screening. They also may not survive the tight quarters inside a baggage bin.
• If booking a hotel, remember that outside of a city’s center a stay can be cheaper. One advantage to waiting until the last minute to book your room is that hotels may offer discounts to fill empty rooms.
• Flying on the actual day of the holiday can be a bit cheaper and slightly less crowded. Christmas Eve is traditionally a light travel day. December 26 is the most popular and therefore expensive day.
• In larger cities, for ground transportation public trains can beat private cars.
Remember to check out companies you are planning to do business with at bbb.org for reviews and to see what BBB may have to say about them. Get answers to other holiday travel questions by contacting BBB by calling 800-856-2417 or visit the website at bbb.org.