Holiday travel tips for the budget traveler

Airports are notoriously extra busy during the holidays, so give yourself 50 to 100 percent more time than you usually need. Credit: Creatas
Airports are notoriously extra busy during the holidays, so give yourself as much as twice the time than you usually need.
Credit: Creatas

While it pays to book travel in advance, you aren’t completely screwed if you haven’t finalized your Christmas or New Year’s trips yet. Bob Diener, co-founder of and, shares his tips for going home for the holidays without going broke.

Plan strategically. Know what days to avoid traveling and what days offer the cheapest rates. “December 21, 22 and 23 are the busiest days to travel, but you can get a much cheaper flight for the morning of Christmas Eve,” Diener tells Metro. Unlike with Christmas, the same logic does not apply to New Year’s — Diener says flights on New Year’s Eve are pretty pricey. He also recommends avoiding using Jan. 5 as your return travel day. Heading home just a couple days earlier will save you a good percentage on flights.

Try smaller airports. Most big city dwellers automatically choose the most well-known or convenient airport, but according to our expert, you can often get cheaper flights out of one of the surrounding airports. Not only are they cheaper, but they tend to be less crowded, too. Just give yourself extra time. “If you are flying out of a smaller airport that tends to get a lot of snow, give yourself more time,” Diener says. No matter where you’re flying out of, he recommends giving yourself 50 to 100 percent more time than it usually takes to make your flight.

Book a room at a boutique hotel. Instead of just Googling the local Holiday Inn or other hotel chain, book a room at a smaller, independent hotel. “The chain name hotels tend to go first because that’s what people know and call first, but often the boutique hotels are a better value,” Diener says. And if you’re traveling with kids, consider booking two rooms instead of automatically going for a suite. It’s often much cheaper. He also recommends considering a vacation rental. “There are a lot of great apartment-style accommodations that are priced less than a hotel and you have more room.”

Call for unadvertised rates. has partnered with 30,000 hotels to offer rates 10 to 20 percent less than what’s advertised online, but you have to call to get the deal. After using the website to find your hotel, call and ask to see if there is an unpublished deal. Often, there is.

Use social media. “Liking” your favorite airlines and hotels is a great way to find deals that aren’t advertised elsewhere. “A lot of brands are using social marketing to offer better deals,” Diener says. Who knows, you just might come across that one gem of a deal that makes procrastinating almost worth it.


Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…


Newest java joint in bastion of hipness is…

Little may represent the change the neighborhood is undergoing right now like the arrival of the first Starbucks. The chain which is ubiquitous in Manhattan, opened a Williamsburg store at…


Black and white are the new orange at…

By Brendan O'Brien(Reuters) - Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail…


Traps set after reports of giant snake on…

New Jersey animal control workers have set traps to snare a reported 20-foot-long serpent slithering through the waters of Lake Hopatcong.


Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.


‘The Leftovers’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4, ‘B.J.…

Last week’s episode of “The Leftovers” was apparently a fluke, because this week’s episode returns to focusing on the Garveys and it is so boring.…


Interview: Luc Besson says 'Lucy' is very different…

Filmmaker Luc Besson talks about his new film "Lucy," how it's different than "Limitless" and his crazy first conversation with Egyptian actor Amr Waked.


Weezer releases first new song since 2010

Weezer releases "Back to the Shack," their first new song in almost six years.


'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.


Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report


Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.


Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.


RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."


Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…


Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.


Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.