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Planning last minute holiday travel

If you are considering booking last minute holiday travel, prices will likely be very high due to demand. However, there are ways to reduce costs and book a budget-friendly vacation during the holiday season.






Find the best deals

One of the best times of the year to travel to Europe is during the holidays—and not just because of the charming winter festivals. While airfare might be pricier than other seasons, hotels tend to be far more affordable because locals are more likely to stay home for the holiday. Reduced hotel costs can help make a trip to Europe more plausible. Traveling parties can enjoy upgrades and discounts during the slower season, which provides a little more wiggle room when working with a fixed budget. U.S. hotels also tend to be more affordable during the holiday season, depending on your destination.

Consider a cruise

When it comes to kicking back and relaxing during the holiday season, there is no better way than on a cruise. These trips can be especially budget-friendly because they often include the price of everything, from food to entertainment. This package deal eliminates some of the pressure of planning trip expenses and saves you money if the included items are ones you would have purchased anyway. Money Crashers suggests using the help of a travel agent‡. These professionals can help you find deals that aren’t available to the general public. Last-minute booking can also save you a bit of money when paying for a cruise, but you’ll need to be flexible with dates to get better deals.

Determine a plan for saving

When planning last minute holiday travel whether to see family or for a getaway, review your current funds to see what can be used toward the trip. As a long-term planning tool, Smarter Traveler suggests opening a savings account designated specifically for travel and vacation expenses‡. Contribute to the fund regularly to build a nice stash of spending money you can use while on your vacation.

Since the holidays are approaching so quickly, consider setting up automatic deposits to ensure you regularly contribute a certain amount of each paycheck to your savings account. In addition to having a savings account, a change jar is another easy way to build additional funds for the trip. While it may not initially seem like very much, change can add up quickly over time and really bolster day-to-day costs of vacations like coffee, food or car services.

Enlist the help of others

When you are bringing the whole family on a vacation, it provides a unique opportunity to teach your children about saving money for something special. Ask your young ones to help make contributions to the family vacation savings account. Whether they have an allowance they want to contribute toward a family activity or a vacation souvenir, kids can help make an impact on your savings—while also teaching them to plan and make a habit of contributing to family goals.

Even though flight prices can be higher in the holiday season, a vacation may not be out of the budget just yet. With a little planning and dedication, you and your family can enjoy some time away.

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s Web site and go to Web sites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other Web sites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.