Here are 16 travel tips to help you save money during the holidays.
16. Take one of the most affordable family vacations known to mankind, according to US News & World Report. Where can you go? I'll give you a hint: anywhere you can pitch a tent. If you've never open-roasted a turkey, now is your chance! Just think of the freezing cold memories you'll make. But in all seriousness, there are many, many places to camp for free.
15. Traveling with kids? Airlines let you check so-called essential baby items, including a stroller, car seat, and portable crib, for free. Wrap your baby items in a large plastic bag to prevent it from getting dirty, and while you're at it, toss in a few items of your own.
14. Rack up points that can be converted into free airline tickets with a top-notch travel rewards credit card. If you buy a ton of Christmas presents now, perhaps you'll earn enough rewards to get something this year.
13. Grab an airport parking lot coupon the week before you pack your bags by joining the lot's email list and by checking online for special offers.
12. Traveling with extended family? Search for group discounts. Generally, group discounts start for 10 or more people.
11. Search for GoGo in-flight Internet coupons before you board. Travelers en route are often not eligible for GoGo Internet discounts.
10. If you're flying, avoid these hidden airline fees. Remember to add them into the ticket price, or you may not be getting the deal you think you are.
9. Sneak your own booze. Why pay $6 for a cocktail when you can pick up your very own little bottle of happiness for half the price at your local liquor store?
8. Buy prepared snacks at the grocery store or make food ahead of time. I promise you, it'll be cheaper. And it'll taste better.
7. Use credit card points or rewards to offset the cost of a hotel.
6. If you have to rent a car, follow Bargaineering's five steps to save on rental cars. His explanation of how rental car companies make money off each customer is eye-opening.
5. Apply for a Southwest credit card and get a free roundtrip flight.
4. Get together via Skype. Set up the computer camera in the middle of the action so it's like you're gabbing in the same kitchen.
3. Celebrate the holidays another week when prices are lower. As we all know, hotel, flight and vacation rentals often charge their highest prices of the year during specific holiday dates.
2. Combine the trip with business so you can write part of it off.
1. Rent a far-flung travelogue instead. Then catch up on sleep. Armchair travel has its benefits.