Lately Thanksgiving has become synonymous with shopping because of the famous “Black Friday” that follows the day after. This year, some major retailers seem to be starting Black Friday on Thanksgiving itself, causing a stir in the industry. Nevertheless, many Americans will focus on Thanksgiving in the traditional way, as a day to spend with family and friends, enjoying a big turkey and watching football. For some it will be a chance to sneak away for the long weekend. The good news is that even if you have a limited budget, you can still travel to be with your family or fly away for that romantic weekend and you don’t have to worry about going into debt. Here are 4 hot tips from the travel professionals on how you can save money this Thanksgiving.
- Book Online
Probably this is a given, since we are all connected to our digital devices. There are a number of excellent online travel sites that will provide you with a list of cost-saving options depending upon the parameters that you provide. Hopper and Google Flights are good examples. Prices are fluctuating now, depending upon how seats are booking so the best way to stay in touch with the latest savings opportunity is to sign up for airfare alerts. Travel apps such as AirfareWatchdog will alert you when prices are falling so you can book right away.
2. Travel Rewards
Take full advantage of your credit card travel rewards. It could be that you have already earned enough for a free trip or at least a free fill-up at the gas station.
3. Travel on Thanksgiving Day
As with most things, advance planning will save you money. The optimum time to purchase your airline tickets for Thanksgiving travel was in early October, but if you are still thinking about where to go, there is no need to worry. You can still save money. One way is to book your flight for Thanksgiving Day itself, and as early in the day as is possible. Not only will you skip the long security lines, but you will save money. If you are heading to family and friends, fly out on Thanksgiving morning, and arrive just in time to enjoy the turkey and pumpkin pie. If you can avoid it, try not to return on the Sunday after, the fares jump up on that day.
If you are going to be driving to your destination, check-out NerdWallet.com. They have a gas price comparison tool so you can find the cheapest gas stations along your route. You can save money on gas by waiting to fill-up at these stations.
4. Cheap Destinations
Cheapflights.com suggests a London get-away, where everything is 26% cheaper than it was last year. The dollar is stronger, meaning that it will go much further. If you were dreaming of sunning on the beach, head to Montego Bay, Jamaica. You might not find turkey, but the jerk chicken can be a great substitute, plus you have the beautiful white sand and warm temperatures. Many resorts are offering all-inclusive packages, with prices down by 22% compared to 2015. Closer to home is Las Vegas, Nevada, where you are sure to find a Thanksgiving turkey with more trimmings than you need. After dinner, you can walk off all the food by strolling down the famous Las Vegas strip. Double-digit savings over last year are being seen here too. Be careful you don’t lose the money you save at the blackjack table.
The experts over at Fodors.com have a few suggestions for you too. Most are concentrated in Europe, such as Munich, Brussels, and Madrid. There are frequent flights to European destinations from all the major airports, fares are reduced and once on the ground, you can reap significant savings at hotels, restaurants and entertainment centers. If you prefer to skip the chilly European November, Fodors suggests Hawaii, where you might experience a few drops of rain, but overall you will be able to soak in hours of sunshine while unwinding on one of the island chain’s incredible beaches. And, since Hawaii is part of America, you can find your turkey dinner too.
By the way, now is the time to buy those airline tickets for your Christmas or New Year’s getaway. Fares begin increasing the closer you get to the holiday. And, the same tip applies, if you can fly on the actual day, you will save money.