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Travel Cheaper this Holiday Season
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Travel Cheaper this Holiday Season: Drive

It’s true… there’s no place like home for the holidays. But when “home” is halfway across the country – and airline tickets are sky high – your appearance around the holiday table may be all you can afford to contribute to the festivities.

The good news is that if you have just a little extra time, you can save big by hitting the highways and heading home in a car. Sure, you’ll have to pay for gas, but with charges for checking bags and all the time spent getting to the airport, getting past security, flying, then getting your bags, it’s probably almost as fast.

If you’re worried about your budget (and who isn’t during the holidays?), driving really can be a whole lot cheaper than flying – especially if you’re part of a couple or a multi-member family. After all, it’s just the price of gas and snacks (and maybe a hotel room for a night or two) you’ll have to spend. Plus, if you’re driving this holiday season, there are plenty of ways you can save cash on the road. For starters, try:

  • Packing your own snacks. Bake a few holiday treats, pack some sandwiches, fresh veggies, chips and fruit, and nosh on the road or at a great park along the way.

  • Saving on a rental car. If you can’t squeeze the family and the luggage into the family truck, rent a car – but be smart about it. Look for discounts from membership organizations like AAA, your credit card company, etc.

  • Plotting your path to save on gas. At sites like GasBuddy.com, you can look up gas prices along your route and plan fill-ups at less expensive spots along the way.

  • Driving responsibly. The way you drive can impact your MPG, so don’t miss this post featuring Tips for Better Fuel Efficiency.

  • Stopping where kids eat & stay free. If you have to eat out and/or stay overnight somewhere, plan ahead and look up restaurants at your stopping point that offer things like “Kids Eat Free” specials and hotels that offer “Kids Stay Free” promotions (and if you can find a hotel that offers free breakfast, even better). Once you find them, make reservations so you’re guaranteed the chance to take advantage of the offers.

One last note about driving home for the holidays: Don’t forget to check your route against the Federal Highway Administration’s National Traffic and Road Closure Information. It will provide you with links so you can check conditions and closures along the way.

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