The holidays are a tough time to be a financially responsible traveler. A wise traveler once told me to just stay home for the holidays. Considering the cost of holiday travel that may be the best solution but if you’ve got your heart set on traveling this holiday season, here are some ideas on how to drop the cost of holiday travel.
1) Be Flexible:
Any time if you have a specific date you have to fly you will pay a price but during the holidays you will get hammered. The question becomes do you want to pay $166 or $691 to fly on a certain date. A quick look at the prices on the calendar to the right help explain why flexibility is so critical during the holidays. I pulled the calendar to the right off of Google.com/flights and it represents the cheapest flights from Miami to Paris in December. If you look closely you will see that the price of the ticket to Paris starts to zoom up after the kids are freed from school. So by the 19th and until the end of the month the deals are gone. You may save a little money flying on the 29th but if you did an early Christmas and flew to Paris on the 4th you would have saved $525 dollars over a ticket on the 21st. I can tell you I have been in Paris in early December and on Christmas day and the experience is amazing under both circumstances. In late November, Paris starts transforming itself into a winter wonderland. The lights come out, the trees go up and the music starts to play so if you love the Christmas spirt and want to see how Paris celebrates Christmas fly out on the 4th of December and come home for Christmas. You can buy every one a present with the cash you save.
2) Go to Non Traditional Christmas Destinations:
There are some great non traditional Christmas destinations that do a great joy of celebrating Christmas. Many of the most popular Mexican destinations see a downturn during the holiday season and deals. The Price of Travel magazine just did an article on 19 warm places to go for Christmas this is a great article because it sets out some good Christmas bargains. Areas like the Mexican Riviera still have a strong tradition of Christmas but are not considered traditional Holiday destinations so they offer an unique Christmas experience without crippling price gouging that many other more traditional Christmas destinations.
3) Go on a Cruise:
The Cruise industry offers some good discounts during the Holidays. If you decide to Cruise during the holidays expect to see more kids on shorter cruises. The Cruise ships do a good job of Celebrating Christmas offering traditional meals, holiday entertainment and a festive atmosphere.
Cruise areas that have some good deals over Christmas are:
Holland America / Eurodam leaving Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 10th for 10 days, $55 per night, 71% discount;
Norwegian / Jewel leaving Sydney on Dec. 14th for 9 days, $69 per night, 67% discount;
Celebrity / Solstice leaving Sydney on Dec. 21st for 12 days, $99 per night, 79% discount;
Pullmantor / Horizon leaving Tenerife on Dec. 20th for 7 days, $35 per night;
Norwegian / Gem leaving New York on Dec. 12th for 12 days, $40 per night, 89% discount;
Norwegian / Pearl leaving New Orleans on Dec. 14th for 9 days, $49 per night, 83% discount.
NSC / Orchestra leaving Genoa Italy on Dec. 17 for 11 days, $67 per night, 49% discount.
These are just a few examples of great cruise deals the cruise but there is one in particular deal I think would be off the charts fun for a Christmas surprise! A cruise starting on Dec. the 22nd from London that is being offered by Cunard on the Queen Elizabeth Ocean Liner for $109 a night which is a 61% discount.
4) Take a Longer Vacation:
If your lifestyle allows it, the holidays are not a bad time to take an extended vacation. During the holidays most people’s travel is compressed into the the 2 weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years. That means that there is a significant reduction in vacation travelers just before the Christmas rush and just after the Christmas rush and the corporate response to this holiday anomaly is to give great deals before and after the holiday season. By flying in mid December you would enjoy deeply discounted flights such as $166 on the 4th of December (see above) and as low as $189 on the 18th of January. The bummer is that you will have to hang out in Europe to stumble into these deals but there is a bright side.
5) The Bright Side Vacation Rentals:
A lot of people travel over Christmas which means the inventory in vacation rentals is larger. So, if you do some shopping there are some great deals on sites like Homeaway.com that will allow you to avoid the holiday increase you will see in many hotels. In the example you see to the right you could get a room for $66 a day. So if 4 adventurers decide they want to run and play in Paris during the Christmas season this vacation rental is a great deal.
In conclusion, I agree with the wise traveler and think Christmas is a good time to stay home but if you have itchy feet and need to trave; stay flexible, stay longer, and look for deals on cruises and vacation rentals. Enjoy the holidays and watch our site! As good Christmas and holiday deals pop up, Charlene and I will let you know.
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