Technically this could be another Single Girl Survival Guide but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like this is something that I will be doing well after I am on to the next part of my life. Holiday season is my favorite time of the year but also it is extremely stressful for me. I have been out and on my own (with no parental assistance) for 5 years and these are the tips that I use to ensure that I am not pulling my hair out or considering prostitution come Christmas:
Book Flights Early
I use a lot of flight alerts and multiple sites to shop for flights HOWEVER the app of the times for me has been the HOPPER app. I recently found a round trip ticket to San Francisco for $80 because of that app. You can even set it to watch only non stop flights which is usually what I use for the holiday season. My tips for booking early is that find better flights when I look on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursday. No I do not know why but that is when I normally book flights. I also do not mind doing red eyes and super early AM flights which makes it cheaper. JUST keep in mind if you use an app or a travel site ALSO make sure that is not for BASIC ECONOMY. A lot of airlines have created a level lower than Economy which means you are the last to board, no overheard space AND you cannot pick your seat. Also keep in mind baggage fees and things. Holiday travel is way less stressful when you plan ahead.
Create a Holiday Budget
I know that on my video I refer to it as a travel budget but I also include gift ideas I have for my family and whoever else I want to include in my gifts this year. I do not believe that gifts have to be bought and sometimes I plan out when I am going to make things if that is the decision I make. I also recommend that if you are shopping from ETSY to do it early. You never know how long it will take to make before it ships.
Buy presents early
If you are like me, I actually avoid Black Friday shopping in the morning and I go to the department stores in the afternoon after I get off work. The sales are usually still there and it means I do not have to deal with the crazy people you see on the news. I should also note that if it something that is not a special sale for Black Friday and Cyber Monday I will buy them early. There is nothing wrong with that. I learned as an adult that my parents would buy things throughout the year and just hide them from us.
If going Home, ship gifts early
This is something some people would not like to do but I definitely do this. I tell my mom that I have packages being sent and she just puts them in the closet. This will save you shipping cost and space in your bags. Plus you do not risk them getting ruined in your bags because EVERY YEAR something happens to my checked bag and I would rather not risk that.
Book all travel together
This is another money saver. If you book a flight than I suggest you book how you are getting to the airport, where you sleeping, and car rentals at the same time. I say this because the parking areas around the airport are so much cheaper than the airport parking but during the holidays I have noticed that none of them are available. They usually give you the option to reserve your parking spot and you can save so much money. The airport that I am leaving from is $5/hour BUT outside parking garages are $6/day with a coupon for staying there for a week. Also I forgot to mention check out bundles and coupons. My insurance has a discount with certain car rental places and I am a hotel points person for every major brand of hotels and those points come in handy.
Travel Snacks and Water Bottle
My last and final tip is to save money while you are in the airport. I know that since you have to get to the airport around 2-3 hours early you have the urge to want to spend money whether it is because you forgot to eat, ran out of time or just did not even consider that. If you are person who would rather eat in the airport then add it to your TRAVEL BUDGET. Me personally, I hate spending $5 on a bottle of water so I carry a bottle with me and I ask for a cup of ice. A lot of airport have water bottle refill stations that are filtered and I take full advantage of that. I will say make sure that your bottle is open and empty before going through TSA. Then fill it up once you get through. Depending on the time of my flight I have usually just ate my meal before I leave and I carry snacks depending on my mood.
What do you do to save during the holidays?