Are you planning to get away for the holidays this year? You're not alone. A recent AAA report says a whopping 49.6 million Americans will travel during the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday season. And if you're planning to hit the road (or the skies) again in a few weeks when the Christmas holidays arrive, you may be wondering how to pay for holiday travel without going broke. Here are a few tips to help you deal with the costs of traveling during the holidays.
Redeem Credit Card Points
Credit card customers with a points card may have an easy way to pay for holiday travel. Accumulate credit card points for everyday purchases like groceries and gas each week throughout the year. Redeem your points towards the costs of traveling during the holiday season. Check with your credit card provider before booking your holiday getaway to confirm the process, and to see if you can redeem your accumulated points directly towards this year's travel costs.
For travelers who collect other rewards points through travel companies or roadside assistance programs, find out how to pay for holiday travel through your program. You may be able to book flights, etc. directly through the rewards point program, applying your accumulated rewards to your holiday travel purchase.
Travel on Credit
For last-minute folks, the question of how to pay for travel has one simple answer: pay for plane tickets, bus or train rides, gas, hotels, and meals on credit. Credit cards are widely accepted and can simplify the logistics of booking last-minute travel plans. The key to keeping costs down when paying for travel on credit is to pay your trip expenses off as quickly as possible, especially if you've used a high-interest credit card. If you don't have the cash to cover the credit card bill that includes your holiday travel expenses, consider applying for a credit line or a short-term personal loan, which some lenders offer for amounts as little as $1000.
Save for Holiday Travel
If holiday travel to visit family and friends becomes an annual tradition, make saving for it part of your monthly budget. Calculate how much you typically spend on airfare or other transportation, hotel and restaurant costs, and don't forget the cost of boarding any family pets during your time away. Divide the total by twelve, and add this figure to your monthly budget. Collect the money in a savings account earmarked for holiday travel, and you'll have the cash available to pay for next year's holiday vacations.
Clear Clutter to Raise Cash
If your anticipated holiday traveling costs exceed your available credit and savings, it's time to get creative. You'll need to raise cash quickly – and what you need to do so may be as close as your basement, garage or attic. Selling gently used items through local online classifieds is a quick way to make money fast. Baby clothing and furniture, seasonal items, sports equipment, household tools and small kitchen appliances are popular items that often sell quickly.
Whether your holiday travels were planned months in advance or are a spur-of-the-moment decision, there are a variety of options to pay for your mini-vacations.