Planning for a trip during the holidays is often easier said than done. This hectic time of year calls for a thorough checklist of items to complete beforehand to ensure that everything goes smoothly, especially those that deal with one’s budget.
On average, roughly 114 million adults expect to spend about $1,400 on flights and accommodations this year, and this does not include the cost of food and gifts that come with the holiday season. With that said, it is very important to have a set budget that you can stick to. Here are a few common travel finance mistakes people tend to make during the holidays.
Booking at the Wrong Time
Booking a flight well ahead of schedule may seem like a great idea, but this can actually prove more expensive. Rather than booking five or six months in advance, pay attention to the time of year in which you book, regardless of your travel dates. For example, research has found that booking seven weeks in advance on a Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. might yield the least expensive airfare. Similarly, if you haven’t already booked a flight for Christmas, the first week of December has historically seen a dip in airline prices of about 13%.
You’ll want to find a happy medium in terms of when to book, as waiting too long also has its consequences. Just a week before Christmas, ticket prices typically see an increase of about 8%. While waiting until a few weeks before your trip to book does have its benefits, it is not always the best option. Three to four months in advance is, on average, the safest bet.
Not Budgeting for Smaller Transactions
Of course, allotting for airfare is one of the most important parts of budgeting your trip, but it’s also important to remember the little things. These include meals, smaller snack breaks, ATM transactions, and much more. All of this can add up very quickly.
Opting Out of Travel Insurance
This may not be the most important consideration for travelers, but travel insurance can save you hassles, whether from having to cancel a trip, medical costs, or missing luggage. With winter comes more frequent weather delays, as well as increased overbookings due to the sheer number of people traveling this time of year.