Why You Should Book Holiday Travel Now

The holidays are a hectic time of the year for everyone: buying gifts, making elaborate meals, preparing your home for family. Traveling, often the most stressful component, can be made easier by booking in advance. There are plenty of reasons to book holiday travel now so you can focus on spending time with family come Christmas and New Year’s.

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Saving Money on Tickets

While the “best” time to book a holiday ticket is something of a moving target, it’s pretty certain that if you wait to book holiday travel at the last minute, it will almost always cost more than doing so several weeks in advance. This concept applies especially to booking travel around popular holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, where prices are already inflated. So, if you can solidify your holiday travel plans early by booking flights, trains and buses now, your potential for savings is substantial.

As a rule of thumb, always check a flight aggregator before booking directly with an airline. Flight aggregators allow travelers to input itinerary information like dates and cities and will pull together a number of flights from different airlines to help find you the best deal. You can also try out various scenarios to see which days are cheaper than others.

In cases where you’re paying with points that are connected to a specific provider, your hands are basically tied and an aggregator may not help much — except for suggesting airlines and date combinations you might not have surfaced by looking only at a single carrier. However, if you’re booking with cash or credit, using an aggregator can often result in the best deal … if you plan early.

Getting Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Many credit cards offer cash or point bonuses when a new cardholder spends a certain amount of money within a given time frame after they first receive the card.

Because these sign-up bonuses normally require several thousand dollars in spend over two to three months, signing up for a new credit card right before a large expense — like booking a major trip — can effectively cover a large portion of the travel cost itself.

Booking holiday travel now on a new credit card with a sign-up bonus may make it easier to reach that bonus spending threshold early and use that extra cash on other holiday spending, like gifts.

Instead of a one-time sign-up bonus up front, Discover offers its cardmembers two different bonus opportunities, in the form of matching, within the first 12 months of Discover card use:

  • With the Discover’s Cash Back Cards‘ Cashback Match, Discover automatically matches all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year – dollar for dollar, with no limit to the match.*
  • With the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card, not only will you earn unlimited 1.5 Miles for every dollar spent on purchases, but also Discover will match all the Miles earned at the end of your first year**.

Having More Time to Pay

For most people, the holidays mean spending a significant amount of money on presents for family members and friends, which can make purchasing the travel required to see family in the first place a strain on your wallet. With a credit card, though, you always have the opportunity to book holiday travel ahead of your gift-buying spree, and then pay the balance off after the holidays, when your spending habits are back to normal.

Of course, carrying a balance, with most cards, means paying interest. So keeping any expense, including holiday travel, on a credit card should not be done without consideration. For many, though, the added interest is worth getting to see their family.

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*Cashback Match™: No purchase minimums. After the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open, we will match all of the cash back rewards you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the following one or two billing periods. If your account is closed or no longer in the cash back reward program at the time we calculate your potential award, your cash back will not be matched. You’ve earned cash back rewards when they have posted to your account by the end of the 12th consecutive billing period. This promotional offer may not be offered in the future. This exclusive offer is available only to new cardmembers.

**Discover Match®: No purchase minimums. After the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open, we will match all the Miles you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the following one or two billing periods. If your account is closed or no longer in the Miles reward program at the time we calculate your potential award, your Miles will not be matched. You’ve earned Miles rewards when they have posted to your account by the end of the 12th consecutive billing period. This promotional offer may not be offered in the future. This exclusive offer is available only to new cardmembers.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

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