AUGUSTA, Ga.— Last-minute holiday travel can be both expensive and stressful. However, don’t let pricey airfares and long lines in the airport turn you into a scrooge. Mark Thompson, interim dean of the James M. Hull College of Business at Augusta University, shares tips to help you save money and stay calm during the holiday chaos.
- Look for deals. There seems to be a coupon for everything these days, especially travel. Spend time researching deals on rental cars, hotels, and flights. In fact, consider booking these items as a bundle to receive discounted rates. Additionally, choose to fly the day of the holiday, which increases your chances of getting a better deal.
- Pack light. Lighten the load in your suitcase so you can avoid being hit with overweight baggage fees at the airport. If you do decide check your luggage, consider prepaying online since most airlines offer discounts for internet transactions.
- Ship your gifts. If traveling by plane, have gifts and extra luggage shipped ahead of you to cut additional costs. If you decide to travel with your presents, leave them unwrapped as security will have to remove the wrapping paper to inspect the present.
- Lodge wisely. Rather than spending big bucks to stay in expensive brand hotels, try lodging at budget hotels, furnished apartment rentals or house sitting.
- Consider other means of travel. Given how expensive airline tickets are nowadays, consider low-cost alternatives, such as traveling by car, bus or train. However, as you make a decision, be sure to take into account your need for comfort and travel time.
- Drive smart. Before hitting the road, make a list of the cheapest gas stations where you can fill up your tank. You can also download mobile apps such as GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas along your way.
Mark Thompson is an economics professor and interim dean of the James M. Hull College of Business at Augusta University. As an economist, Thompson’s work has been cited in various national and regional outlets. He is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Business Valuations and Economic Loss Analysis. Thompson received his doctoral degree in economics as well as a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas Tech University.