Exams are over. Your final projects are done. All that stands between you and Winter Break is the trip home. This time of year is crazy hectic, but that doesn’t mean your trek home has to be. There are ways to save money when traveling home to maintain the budget you’ve worked so hard to keep during the semester.
1. When flying, try an “off” day.
It’s no secret that finding the cheapest flight requires dedication, technological savvy, and a certain degree of investigative work. However, there are a few simple ways to save a few bucks. For starters, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you can save at least a little bit just by being flexible with your travel dates. Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be less expensive than weekends, so if you’re able, try to travel mid-week. Prices tend to dip for flights on the actual holiday as well, so that’s definitely a strategy to keep in mind if you can.
2. Consider using more than one form of transportation.
If flights into your desired airport are more costly than you’d hoped, check the prices for nearby airports. If they are a lot less expensive, consider flying into one of those and taking a train, bus, or other form of transportation to your final destination. It could end up saving you some money in the end.
3. Weigh your luggage before you get to the airport.
Hands down, this is the easiest tip to follow. Lots of airlines have steep overweight baggage fees, so double check your bag before you even leave campus. Pack the excess in your carry-on or leave it behind.
Not everyone’s trip home requires a plane ride. If you’re within driving distance, consider carpooling with friends who live nearby. Split the cost of gas and spend the extra money on last-minute gifts.
5. Show up on time (or early).
This tip might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how much money (and energy) is wasted on rescheduling missed flights or re-booking train and bus tickets. Airports and other travel terminals are particularly hectic during holiday travel, so save yourself the hassle and show up early.
6. Account for hidden costs.
A ticket might seem cheaper on the surface, but make sure that there won’t be other costs that sneak up on you. Did you save on a plane ticket but will now have to pay for a $50 cab ride home? Try to save on the total cost of the trip, not just on parts of it.
This article originally appeared on The College Juice, powered by Barnes & Noble College.