December and January are prime times for winter getaways. The holiday season provides opportunities for families to unite and escape the cold Toronto weather. From flights and hotels to dining, activities and travel insurance, the costs can add up quite quickly. We have put together our top tips for minimizing the cost of your winter holiday.
Save $ on Flights
The pricing of flights varies depending on timing… month, day and time. Weekends, for example, make a considerable difference on the price of flights. If you can swing it, flying during the week will save you some cash! Further, if you utilize a site like Skyscanner, it will compare flights across different airlines and times of the month so that you will be able to seek out the cheapest flight for your holiday.
If you do not mind where you fly out of, consider other options like driving into Buffalo to fly to Miami. Sometimes it is cheaper to fly from state to state, than from Canada to the U.S. Other airports like Porter may also offer cheaper options or promotions that will save you some cash.
Travelling in high vs. low season
We all know that destinations have high seasons and low seasons. The Caribbean’s high season is Nov – Jan whereas Europe’s high season is in the summer. Travelling off-season will result in better bargains. Most of Europe has beautiful weather in September and October and lots to do and see in the winter months. Consider other locations and try ducking out to a place less traveled and see something new this winter!
Money vs. Time
If you are trying to save money wherever you can, stop-over flights are usually less expensive than direct flights. If you search for in-direct routes, you will see that most of the time, they are far cheaper. If time is not as important as money, consider a stop-over or two!
Planning your meals out and figuring out where you will be and what you will eat before you arrive at the restaurant will be good for both your wallet and diet. Consider also, booking a hotel with a kitchenette which will allow you to grocery shop and cook your meals which can be fun and healthy! Breakfasts, for example, are usually overpriced within hotels and usually not great. Having a kitchenette or finding a local café might be more cost-effective.
Taking out money abroad can cost you a lot in extra charges even though using your debit card is, in most circumstances, cheaper than credit card. It is important to be aware that most banks and financial instiutions will charge you each time you withdraw money from your account (and sometimes on top of a commission fee). It is always a good idea to take out a larger amount of money (and charged less frequently) and you can always put back the money once you return home. You may also want to compare rates of foreign currency from different institutions before you take off on your vacation. Banks usually have good rates in comparison to the airport rate, so it may make sense to ensure that you get your currency prior to arriving at the airport.
Travel insurance is necessary in most circumstances. Most insurance advisors will be able to shop the market for you and make sure that you purchase the right travel policy for you and your family. There are always options!! It may make sense to take out an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy if you are a frequent traveller than purchasing a one-time insurance for a single trip.
Enjoy your winter holidays and that little bit of extra money!