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The holiday season can be an expensive time of year. Mailing Christmas cards, buying presents, planning family meals, and travel costs can all add up to hit your bank account quite hard.

Thankfully there are ways to save money while travelling during the holiday season and one way is at the airports. If you are planning on flying this holiday season, follow these helpful tips to make your Christmas and New Year merry, bright, and affordable.

Purchasing Your Flights

Purchasing your flights early is key to getting the best price. As the holidays get closer, airline seats run out causing the availability of flights to not only diminish but also to go up in price. In the event you have not purchased your flights and Christmas is just weeks away, think about flying on Christmas Day. Flying out on holidays like Christmas Day or New Year’s Day are often the cheapest days to travel within the holiday season period.

Watch for flight deals or flash sales during the year and think about possibly purchasing one-way tickets which allows you to pair flights from different airlines offering the best rates for the dates you are planning on travelling.

As with any travel, protecting your holiday investment from unfortunate events with travel insurance could end up being the best money saver of all. Travel insurance in Australia is very affordable and easy to obtain.

Use Alternative Airports

You may not have a choice of airports when it comes to flying, especially if heading internationally, but domestically it pays to check out less popular airports near you. By choosing to go with less used regional airports, you may be able to avoid traffic congestion, have cheaper parking rates, have better deals on rental cars, and possibly airlines offering cheaper flights.

Smaller airports may offer fewer flights but also have far less delays making them less stressful and more punctual.

Have Friends or Family Drop You Off and Pick You Up

Taxis can be expensive as can calling an Uber. You may or may not have more affordable public transport options to get you to the airport but this can often be a hassle if travelling with a lot of luggage. Make use of family or friends to take you to the airport. They will most likely be happy to see you before the holidays and will be glad to help you out.

If you are planning on visiting family, have them greet you at the airport and catch a lift with them. They will be excited for your arrival and will make your transport easy and free.

Use Off-Site Parking with Free Shuttles

If you are planning on driving to the airport yourself and will be parking your car there, think about parking offsite. Parking at the airport itself can be quite costly especially if you are planning on a long holiday away.

Off-site parking options will be cheaper and most offer free shuttles. You can often save even more by parking your car uncovered as this option is usually the cheapest, although you may want to look at the weather forecast to make sure no severe weather  is forecasted for the time you are away.

Limit Your Baggage

If you can travel with carry-on luggage only, this will be your best option to avoid baggage fees which can be high depending on the airline. If you are planning on bringing Christmas gifts during your travels, look into shipping them or if ordering online, have your gifts drop shipped to your final destination. Plan on wrapping any gifts when you arrive as airport security may open your packages during transit, thereby ruining your hard work of gift wrapping.

Purchasing your gifts at duty free shops when travelling internationally may snag you better deals on certain products but be aware of any restrictions or limits when it comes to certain items or you may have your items confiscated or face paying duty fees. Different countries have different laws.

Protecting yourself with travel insurance will also prove very beneficial in the event your bags get lost or delayed. Purchasing online travel insurance is as easy as checking your bag in at the airport and policies can be had for very reasonable rates.

Prepay Your Baggage Fees

If you know you will be checking bags, it usually pays to prepay your baggage fees online when booking your flights. Discounts are almost always issued for upfront payments before you get to the airport. Be sure to print out your e-mail receipt and bring it with you when you check in at the airport as proof of purchase.

Bring Your Own Snacks & Water Bottle

Bring along snacks for the airport and flight as airport shops are notorious for charging exorbitant prices for any kind of food. Liquids you may not be able to get past security checkpoints, but you can bring an empty water bottle which you can fill up at the tap. This will save you from paying upwards of $5 for a small bottle of water and is great for the environment.

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