Planes, trains and automobiles. As the country prepares for one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, travelers are shaking their heads at the price they have to pay to spend time with friends and family. While there may not be a way around shelling out a chunk of money to visit your cross-country cousins, there are ways to make it more affordable.
- Be Flexible. Travelling on the less popular days, e.g. not the Wednesday before or Sunday after Thanksgiving, can save you time and money, not to mention the aggravation of bumper-to-bumper traffic or a mile long security line. Or, if you can, hold your family get-together the weekend before or after the actual holiday.
- Ship extra luggage. Not only does extra weight increase your fuel cost if driving, but, depending on the airline, checking luggage can cost as much as $45 each bag each way, and some airlines even charge for carry-ons.
- Skip the rental car and take advantage of public transportation. It may be more convenient being able to come and go as you please, but if you're in an area with public transportation you may actually be able to get where you're going faster; and for a couple hundred dollars less.
- Check out all available modes of transportation. Depending on your destination, you may be able to get a great deal on destination-funded transportation. For example, if you're headed near Atlantic City, NJ, most casinos offer round-trip bus tickets for as little as $35. While you may be on the bus longer than you would be on a plane, the entire event of getting to, through and out of an airport can take just as long as the bus.
- Join the trend of taking an "alternative" Thanksgiving vacation. More and more people are opting to put their holiday weekend costs towards an international trip instead; you may actually be able to get out of the country for less money than the two-hour flight from New York City to Detroit, MI.