How to Travel for Thanksgiving on a Tight Budget

Traveling for the holidays has always been a little tricky, but Thanksgiving Day travel may be harder this year. 2020 has been a rough year on wallets, and you may have less wiggle room in your budget than usual.

Money, more than anything, can put the kibosh on your plans. Fortunately, travel is possible even on the tightest budget. Here are some travel tips to help you arrive at the table in time for turkey.

Know Your Spending Limits

Making plans when you only have a vague feeling about your financial situation starts your Thanksgiving on the wrong foot. You may have more or less money to go around than you realize.

Drawing up a budget helps you pinpoint an exact number you have to play with. It’s also an opportunity to assess your spending. If you do this early enough in the month, you may have time to put unnecessary expenses on hold and use that “extra” money to fund your trip. Once you’ve established your spending limits, it is time to start researching the finer details of your trip, from destination to flights and accommodation. If you want to visit Orlando, for example, you might want to look into hotels early so you don’t miss out on the best available.

Think about Your Journey

Will you take to the skies or put the pedal to the metal? The answer here may significantly impact the overall price tag of Thanksgiving travel.

Generally speaking, driving will be less expensive than flying as long as you have a car. If you have to rent one, the cost may start to rival a plane ticket. However, you can socially distance more successfully in your own vehicle than a jet shared by hundreds of people.

Price out Your Trip

Combining your plane ticket plus the taxis to and from the airports is a simple equation. The cost of your drive, however, may take some more ingenuity. You have to calculate the cost of gas and tolls. You may even need to bring your vehicle into the garage for a tune-up before it’s road trip worthy.

Have a Backup Plan

It’s also a good idea to consider how you’d handle the worst-case scenario. What happens if your tire blows on the highway or you’re involved in a collision? Do you have an emergency fund?

Savings are the first line of defense against unexpected emergencies like the examples above, but an online installment loan may come in as a close second. You may borrow money online with an installment loan when your savings fall short of what you need.

The Internet doesn’t have a closing time, making these online loans convenient if you get stranded late at night, on the weekend, or the actual holiday. You can apply at any time of the day or night.

Find Savings

Now that you have a list of expenses related to your trip, don’t take these numbers for granted. You can shave off a considerable amount of money from your final bill by relying on tech.

  • Flight and car rental aggregator sites help you compare deals so that you find the best possible prices for your trip
  • These shopping apps combine coupons and rebates to offset the final bill
  • Travel apps like GasBuddy locate the lowest gas prices in your area

Bottom Line

If a family lives across the miles, traveling is the only way you’ll spend Thanksgiving together. Don’t let a tight budget prevent you from celebrating with the people you love most. Remember these tips as you plan this trip and any future ones to come!