If you are getting ready to travel this holiday season, you’ve probably researched flights, hotels, and rental cars. It’s so easy to get caught up in the big things that you may forget to do some of the little things that can add up and save lots of money. If you are getting ready to hit the road, consider these small tips before you leave.
Turn Down the Thermostat-Don’t forget to turn your thermostat down when you leave for a trip. You don’t want to turn the heat off in case it gets cold enought for your pipes to freeze, but you don’t need to heat the house for your furniture and clothes when you’re gone. We usually turn ours down in the fifties. It doesn’t usually get that cold in our house because we have a good amount of passive solar heat, but even if it did, things wouldn’t freeze.
Bring Snacks- I especially like to bring snacks for the airport. Since you are a captive audience, they can charge whatever they want. This also works well for road trips. Convenience stores can be almost as expensive as airports unless you are getting the 2/$1 chili dogs that have most likely been there since the late 90’s.
Don’t Forget Toiletries- It is terribly annoying to forget to bring your toothpaste or shampoo, and it can be expensive and time consuming to try to locate replacements in a strange place. The day before a trip, I lay everything I use daily on the bathroom counter instead of putting it away. The next day it all goes in my bag after I’m ready to go. I still forget things from time to time, but this has helped tremendously. I also keep a spare toothbrush and toothpaste in a travel case so I can just throw it in the day before.
Get Directions-If you have a smart phone, just skip this one, and I’m sticking my tongue out at you. If your phone is still dumb, write down directions to hotels or locations you need to find before you leave home. This might not save a ton of money, except for the gas you waste driving in circles. It does save the time and hassle of trying to locate a phone number to call while driving through rush hour traffic in a strange town. We took a wrong exit once in Louisville, KY and ended up in a very bad part of town. When you get to the end of your exit and there is a burned out carcass of a car, you know it’s not good. I was waiting for someone to paint “honkey lips” on our car. I’ve learned to find out where I need to be before I leave home.
Look for Coupons-If you like to be spontaneous, this trick might not be for you, but if you know where you are going and plan to eat out, look online for deals. Many times, liking a restaurant’s Facebook page or signing up for emails can nab some serious coupons. My husband’s birthday is this month, so we get a free dinner at Sweet Tomatoes and $25 off at Landry’s or Rainforest Café.
Make Plans for Your Pets-If you are flying with a pet, make sure you know the rules about carriers, health forms, and fees. You’d hate to get denied at the airport because your paperwork is not in order. Some airlines leave it up to the captain whether to allow pets on board, and you may not know until the last minute, so have a backup option. If you are leaving the pets at home, start making plans early. If you can find a friend or neighbor staying home, ask them if they would mind pet sitting. You can return the favor when they are out of town or pay them with cash or a gift card. This would most likely cost less than a boarding kennel. If you do kennel your pets, reserve your spot early. Kennels often book up for Christmas.
Hopefully careful planning with some small travel tips will help make your trip less stressful and more affordable. Now if only we could control the weather!
What are your travel tips? What is the worst thing you’ve forgotten before a trip?
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