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Managing Travel Costs: Tips for Holiday Season Savings

Sarah Sharkey Updated: November 29, 2023 • 3 min read
people at an airport traveling for the holidays

Key Points:

  • 48% of U.S. adults plan to go on an overnight leisure trip this holiday season.

  • Rising costs have caused 77% of holiday travelers to change their plans.

  • 31% of holiday travelers are worried their trip will strain their budget.

For many, this season is a busy time filled with lots of travel for holidays. While holiday travel is a popular activity, it can put pressure on a household budget. Despite the higher costs, many Americans are planning an overnight trip this holiday season. 77% of travelers modified their travel plans due to the costs this season.

We will explore how travelers are adjusting their holiday plans this season and how you can navigate the season without sacrificing your travel plans.

The rising costs have pushed 77% of holiday travelers to consider changing their plans this season.

Holiday Travelers Rethink Vacation Plans

A recent survey found that 48% of U.S. adults are planning an overnight trip this holiday season. Holiday travels can add some spice to your season. But travel costs can add up quickly, especially in our current economic climate.

The rising costs have pushed 77% of holiday travelers to consider changing their plans this season. 27% of holiday travelers are choosing to drive instead of fly this season. 23% are planning to take fewer trips. Due to the holiday rates, 23% are planning to stay in less expensive accommodations this season.

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Even with the changing plans, many holiday travelers are worried about how this choice will impact their budget. 31% are worried the trip will strain their budget, and 25% anticipate being pressured to spend more than they are comfortable with.

Although many holiday travelers are changing their plans, nearly one in four holiday travelers plan to book flights regardless and carry a credit card balance from their holiday trip.

Holiday Vacations 2023: How to Manage Costs

Holiday travel costs can add up quickly and have a lasting impact on your budget. If you are concerned about holiday vacation travel costs, below are some strategies to help you manage the costs this season:

  • Consider a different method of transportation: Some modes of transport are more cost-effective than others. For example, you might choose to drive or take a bus instead of flying. Run the numbers to find the most budget-friendly option for you. And don't wait until Christmas day when rates are peaked in the United States to hop on that flight.
  • Look for travel deals: It’s possible to snag a discount and save money on everything from your flight to your accommodations.

  • Take a shorter trip: A quick trip with less travel days, rather than a lengthy holiday vacation tour, can lead to fewer costs for traveling this year.
  • Use credit card rewards points: If you have a rewards credit card, consider redeeming your rewards to pay for some or all of your holiday travel.
  • Prioritize: If holiday travel is a key element of your season, make it a priority. This might mean less funds available for holiday gifts but that might be worth it for you.
  • Avoid overspending: It might be tempting to put your travel costs on a credit card to pay off late after the holiday period. But the sky-high interest rate attached to most credit cards can make this an expensive choice. Do everything in your power to avoid overspending on the holiday travel season.
  • Set up a high-yield savings account: If you're planning any future travel, a high-yield savings account can help you grow your savings through interest payments. It may be too late for this 2023 holiday season, but if you're planning to travel in the future, opening a high-yield savings account can help you start saving for next year's holiday.

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The Bottom Line

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. But the costs associated with the season can add up fast. If you are worried about holiday costs, get clear on your priorities. Choose to stick to a budget that works for your family.

Consider laying the groundwork for a stress-free season by opening a high-yield savings account. You can tuck funds into this account to grow for next year’s holiday festivities.

Written by Sarah Sharkey linkedin-icon

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer with a Master's in Management from the Hough School of Business at the University of Florida. She enjoys helping people make better financial decisions and has written for numerous personal finance publications, including Money Under 30, Business Insider, and The College Investor. Sarah enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading when she is not writing.