Top tips for budget travel in Winter

by Jules on January 28, 2013

Planning a journey during winter presents its own set of unique challenges. But with a bit of careful planning and following our handy tips and advice below, your winter adventure will come in on budget.

The best time to buy air tickets

If you plan on flying during winter, then a little preplanning will pay dividends. For the super-organised amongst us, consider buying your tickets six months or so before your trip. Or for that last minute winter getaway, great airfare rates can also be secured two weeks or so before your trip. It’s said that the best time to buy tickets is on Wednesday afternoons as airlines release their prices on Monday mornings and then fight until Wednesday to try to meet each other’s prices. A good tip is to check either on a Wednesday afternoon or at midnight the night before as airlines release any tickets that were previously reserved, but were never paid for. Connect with the airlines on their social media sites, as this is where you’ll hear about pre-sales and special offers first.

For a winter travel bargain, try a cruise

One of the best value winter travel getaways is a cruise, although you will need to book early to secure the best rates. Or if you’ve missed the boat, consider taking a cruise during shoulder season which also offers good value. Generally, the first two weeks and last two weeks of a season are the least expensive. The season will vary by destination so carry out a bit of research, whether you’re planning a Caribbean, Mediterranean or Far East cruise. Often cruise prices can be ridiculously low, except for the two weeks around Christmas, but do check what is included and ask about the additional day-to-day supplements and costs that are excluded. It’s worth noting that cruise prices can double or even triple in the last two weeks of December and the first week of January.

Tips on a winter roadtrip adventure

Driving during winter can be a pretty hazardous affair in the northern hemisphere but with a little planning and research a winter roadtrip is a great budget choice. Just make yourself aware of the local road and travel conditions. There are a wealth of smartphone apps and websites that provide up-to-the-minute advice. If you are travelling through snow and ice, then make sure you carry spare blankets, a shovel, basic food supplies, fresh water, first aid kit, torch, mobile phone and charger. Make sure you have enough gas and make sure you know how far it is to the next filling station. Prior to setting off, pack your GPS or manual sat-nav (map) and get your vehicle checked over; specifically oil level, tyre pressures, headlights and any local legal requirements (such as carrying a warning triangle and a fire extinguisher). Snow chains are also a consideration if the majority of journey will be on snowy or icy roads.

What to pack for winter weather

It’s vital to dress appropriately during winter especially if you’re spending long periods outside. The best way to do this is by packing smart and layering your clothing. Start with a thermal cotton vest or t shirt against your skin, as it will allow the moisture to move away from your body. Then, dress in several layers on top of that to allow for dressing up and down as the temperature fluctuates. Pack heavyweight fleeces, coats, scarves, gloves, hats and woollen sweaters.

Drink plenty of water

Even though the colder temperatures will not make you thirsty like the summer heat, you can still get dehydrated quickly, especially if you’re active. Carry water with you at all times especially on high-octane out pursuits such as skiing and snowboarding. Plenty of fresh water will also stave off jet lag.

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