Money Fix: Saving on holiday travel

There's still time to save money on holiday

There's still time to save money on holiday travel -- if you're a savvy shopper, but you may have to make some concessions, like dates of travel. (Credit: iStock)

Travel deals

You're cutting it close, but there's still time to save money on holiday travel -- if you're a savvy shopper.

Be flexible with dates. For domestic flights leaving Christmas and returning Dec. 28, you could save up to 21 percent, says Jessica Casano Antonellis of travel site Kayak.com. You can save at least 20 percent on international travel by leaving close to or on Christmas and returning near New Year's. Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays are often cheapest for flying.

Search alternate airports. Maybe LaGuardia is your favorite. But you may do better flying out of JFK, Newark or Westchester, points out Montclair, N.J., travel writer Melissa Klurman.

Pack wisely. Overweight bags can be costly. Pack light and consider shipping gifts, says Gabe Saglie, senior editor at Travelzoo.com.

Redeem rewards. Do you have enough credit card reward points for free travel? If not, still check with your card issuer. Capital One's Purchase Eraser, for example, gives you 90 days to erase the cost of previous travel expenses using your credit card rewards.

Be strategic. Many hotels offer great last-minute bookings. Make a refundable reservation ahead of time and then check the discount sites about three days before your trip. If you find a better deal, book it and cancel the earlier reservation.

Just ask. At check-in, ask if you can buy a discounted business class seat. "They can sell for as little as $200 each way, and you increase your comfort," says Peggy Goldman of Friendly Planet Travel in Jenkintown, Pa.

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