The holidays are here, a time when families get together and rejoice. But getting together often requires lots of traveling, and as a result, the end of the year can be one of the busiest times for leisure travel.

Nobody likes to be a Scrooge, but there’s nothing wrong with saving money, especially around the holiday season. Here are a few travel tips that can help you make the most of your holidays, however you celebrate.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com User - MyBiggestFan

Photo Credit: Flickr.com User – MyBiggestFan

COVER YOUR BASES

Sounds like a no-brainer, but coming off the tail of Thanksgiving and Black Friday and now with all of the December holidays and into New Year’s Eve, make sure to mark your calendars and request any time off well in advance, if necessary. Plan your dates for mailing packages, too, so you aren’t stuck waiting in long lines at the post office, especially around your key travel dates. Don’t forget that some family members may have other important dates in December and January to celebrate, too, such as birthdays and anniversaries.

BOOK EARLY

With so many holiday travelers, it makes sense to book your trip early to ensure you can fly on the dates you want at the best price available. The longer you wait, the bigger risk you take of spending more than the person sitting right next to you – try not to let that happen!

If you haven’t booked yet and are hoping to fly in December there are some last minute flights you can find. Start with popular travel sites such as Kayak, Expedia or Travelocity. When it comes to flights, accommodations, cars and overall travel deals, these sites make it easy to comparison shop by pulling information from airlines, hotels and more and aggregating it in one place. You can search by price range and/or user-review ratings – these tools were made to assist travelers, so use them!

MAP OUT YOUR BUDGET

Souvenirs. Gifts. More gifts. The holidays are also the biggest season for consumer spending, and it’s easy to get a little carried away.

Help stay within your budget without the risk of carrying around more cash on you than you need with re-loadable prepaid cards from Western Union, allowing you to enjoy the holidays the way they were meant to be spent – with family. And be sure to check out the new Western Union TravelWise service before you head out of the country. Just send money to yourself before traveling and pick up your money in local currency when you arrive at your destination.

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