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3 On Your Side: Save Money On Holiday Travel

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The holiday season is right around the corner, which means now is the time to be making your travel plans. So 3-On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has money saving advice for cutting costs.

Let’s start with airfare. This is where the law of supply and demand can really take a toll on your budget. Unfortunately the demand for flights is up 6 percent this year. But airlines have increased their capacity by less than 2 percent. That means more people vying for fewer seats. Travel Expert Peter Greenberg says, “Fewer planes means fewer flights, fewer flights means fewer seats, law of supply and demand kicks in and guess what, fares are up.”

But you still may be able to get a deal. Greenberg says if you have to fly over Thanksgiving don’t book a flight for Wednesday, the day before the holiday, traditionally it’s the busiest travel day of the year. He says, “My advice is to get up really early on that Thanksgiving morning. That’s when you fly, that very first flight out at 6 or 7 in the morning.” The good news is not only will you avoid battling crowds, you won’t be charged what airlines call “peak travel day fees”, that’s a surcharge that can add $20 to $60 to your ticket price.

Traveling less than 400 miles away? Consider taking the bus. Mega Bus and Bolt Bus tickets range between one dollar and twenty dollars each way and as Greenberg points out they have leather seats and free Wi-Fi.

Finally, it may be hard to cash in your frequent flyer miles for airfare, so try using miles to defray your hotel costs. Hotels are anxious to fill their rooms, and are making it easier to redeem your miles at their properties.

If you’re not looking to travel during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays, but still have to use up some vacation time before the end of the year, book something during the first two weeks of December. During that time period you’ll find some of the lowest rates of the year on cruises, hotels, and package deals because it’s a lull between the two holidays when most people stay home.

Reported By: Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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  • Maura

    If you need to save money on something other than airfare during the holiday season, you should def think about your communication while you are travelling. I’m travellign this Christmas and I will be sure to have my Tracfone prepaid phone with me as a back-up since it has great coverage and very affordable. Phones are no contract and are as low as $9 so there is no worry about breaking one or loosing it – there are no extra costs. Airtime cards can be found litterally everywhere (Walmat – Target) and are so low cost, you have basic service for $10 and then it can just end when you need it to. I can say from personal experience the coverage is great and well worth the price.

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