While we all look forward to celebrating the holiday season, the stress of traveling can often bring the scrooge out. To ensure your festive spirit doesn’t take a backseat this year, I want to share my top five holiday travel tips for staying sane and saving big with cheap flights this holiday season.

Be a Conscious Consumer: If the airline puts you or your family members on a different flight that arrives at your destination between one to two hours after your originally scheduled arrival time, the airline is required to pay an amount equal to the one-way fare to your destination that day, up to $400 maximum and $800 for international travel. If the airline does not make alternative arrangements for you, the airline is required to compensate you double the amount of the one-way fare to your destination.

Try to Travel on Holidays: If you are up for it, travel on actual holidays for less-crowded airports and cheaper airfare. Fliers can expect to pay half or even less to travel. If you are not up for flying on holidays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the cheapest days to take to the skies.

Give Yourself a Gift: Business class fares are affordable this winter! Prices are only about double that of an economy ticket, rather than 3-4 times the economy rate as they usually are. European destinations are the best targets for this tip.

Wrap the Right Way and Involve the In-Laws: Don’t bring wrapped presents to the airport. TSA agents might end up opening your gifts, instead of your intended loved ones. Save time and money by wrapping (and even buying) gifts at your final destination. Also, try to pack less and do laundry at your family’s home. Less checked luggage can save you up to $50 in baggage fees. (Fly.com provides a baggage fee icon when searching so no surprises at the airport!).

Get to Grandma’s Early: There are often less delays on early morning flights as they are usually the first scheduled flights of the day. Plus, more time to enjoy the holidays with loved ones is always an added bonus.

And of course always remember, tis the season. Be polite to airline employees, especially when things go wrong. Niceness can go a long way when you experience problems.

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