7 tips for making stress-free budget travel a breeze

Air travel used to be a luxury affair, but in recent years has become more stressful for various reasons. But it needn't be. Although there's a chance your luggage could go astray or you face delay, these tips will help get you on your way with less stress.

7 tips for making stress-free budget travel a breeze

1. Check ticket prices mid-week

If you're looking for a bargain, start searching early on Wednesday morning.

  • If you can be flexible about when you fly, check ticket prices at any time for last-minute deals.
  • Sometimes, airlines will sell tickets at bargain basement prices a few days (or even hours) before the plane is scheduled to take off.

2. Purchase a parking package

Many airport hotels offer "park-and-fly" packages that can save you time, money and hassle.

  • Particularly appealing if you have an early morning flight, these packages offer a night at the hotel before your flight, a morning wake-up call, transportation to and from the airport and free parking at the hotel during your time away.
  • You may even be able to find a package that costs what only a week of parking alone would cost you at the airport.

3. Park in the nose-bleed section

When you park, drive straight to the top level in the airport parking garage. You'll have better luck finding a parking space – even finding one closer to the walkway or elevator that takes you to your airline's check-in counter.

4. Divvy up your duds

Since tens of millions of checked bags get lost or delayed every year, you know that you should carry a bag onto your flight containing vital medicines, toiletries and a change of clothes.

  • If you're flying with a spouse or friend, take two suitcases (one for each of you), but put half your stuff in your bag and half in the other. That way, if one of the bags gets lost, you'll still have half your stuff for your trip.

5. Ditch delays with early morning flights

You may not be an early bird, but you'll be happy you traded a little sleep for an on-time flight.

  • Flights early in the morning are more likely to leave on time, since they probably aren't following an already backed-up flight leg.
  • Be sure to choose the days that are least crowded for flying – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are best because they're when business travellers are least likely to fly.

6. Fly direct

Try to avoid layovers. You're less likely to lose your luggage and you won't need to worry about missing your next flight.

7. Consider a travel package, simply for the flight

If high airfares are getting you down, think about buying a travel package that includes a flight, hotel and rental car.

  • You might be able to get a great deal on a package in a last-minute sale. Moreover, you're not obliged to use the hotel or the car.
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