There is an often-used cliché about the “best laid plans of mice and men.” A commonplace situation when it comes to Christmas travel is that there are no best laid plans well in advance of the holiday. Rather, more than a few families and individuals find themselves heading into the winter holiday season with no seasonal getaway on the books.
All is not lost if proactive Christmas travel planning does not occur. There are some effective strategies that you can utilize to arrange an affordable, enjoyable last-minute Christmas getaway.
Dates Really Do Matter When Booking Last Minute
One of the most important strategies you can utilize when arranging a more last-minute Christmas trip is based on leaving one of two specific dates. You will almost surely be able to save a decent amount of money on airfare if you book a flight for December 24 or 25.
You can enhance savings associated with late date Christmas travel scheduling by booking a return flight back home on December 31, January 3, or at a later date, according to Conde Naste Traveler. Keep in mind that by traveling to and from on the dates referenced here you are much more likely to avoid long waits getting through security at airports and less-crowded aircraft. Fewer people rushing about at airports really does make travel more enjoyable.
Abandon the Airline and Drive
If you want to save money on your Christmas travel, and avoid the inherent headaches associated with flying to a vacation destination even under the best of circumstances, consider driving. Electing to drive somewhat limits the territory or zone in which you can select a holiday travel destination. You don’t want to spend your precious Christmas holiday time driving endlessly across country, unless you and yours do enjoy the process of a road trip itself.
Another advantage of driving over flying is you avoid the prospect of weather-related cancellations. You need to bear in mind that inclement weather in other parts of the nation, nowhere near where you intend to start or stop your own travels, can adversely impact your own flight. When a flight is cancelled during the Christmas period, rebooking can be highly problematic at best and even impossible in the worst case scenario.
Deal Directly with Resorts and Hotels
The myriad of travel sites and apps are marvelous. With that recognized, there are some limitations to their use when you are seeking last minute reservations at a popular resort or hotel. The reality is that a last minute opening at a resort or hotel very well will end up filled before you even have the chance to note its availability through a more generalized travel site or app.
Another vital strategy to utilize when trying to schedule relatively last minute Christmas travel is to deal directly with resorts or hotels. When you make an initial approach to a resort or hotel, you may find that it is completely booked up. However, many resorts and hotels maintain waiting lists. Thus, you definitely want to get your name added to such a registry. However, you do not want to end your efforts with placement on a waiting list.
When in contact with a resort or hotel, ask what the property’s no-penalty cancellation policies are over the holiday season. If you want to arrive at a resort or hotel on December 25, find out what the no-penalty cancellation date is for individuals who have booked an arrival on that same date.
When the no-penalty cancellation date arrives in connection with the date you ideally would like to begin your stay at a property, contact the resort or hotel directly. Odds are high that there will have been cancellations. Provided you are truly proactive in making contacting, you may find both an opening at a resort or hotel and a reduced rate to book.
Consider a Big City Holiday
New York has been a Christmas destination for travelers for decades. However, other urban areas have become rather “New York-like” in what is offered to visitors during the holiday season.
Rather than making a trek to a resort for Christmas, including a ski destination, consider a holiday in a major city. You are likely to find last minute accommodations at an affordable cost.
City centers tend to cater to business travelers during the work week. They have yet to become overrun on weekends and even on major holidays like Christmas.
By applying these strategies, you significantly enhance your ability to make affordable travel arrangements to an idyllic destination for the Christmas holiday. Keep in mind that the best course is to utilize multiple strategies rather than rely on just one.
Jessica Kane is a writer for SIlver Superstore, home of the internet’s silver Christmas ornaments.