Brilliant holiday travel hacks to save you money and prevent stress

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While the holiday season can give us plenty to look forward to, it can also be extremely stressful. And for those of us who have to travel during the holidays, life can quickly become one enormous headache.

Luckily, just as there are easy ways to relieve anxiety while flying, there are also some truly brilliant holiday travel hacks that can make visiting friends and family so much easier.

This exclusive list of travel tips for the holidays tackles everything from the best way to book a flight, to how to travel with presents, to when is the best time to book.

Scroll through below to see how you can take the headache out of your travel plans this year. This is some of the most helpful information I have read in years!

Where will you be traveling to this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below, and please SHARE!

Hacks For: Staying In A Hotel

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

If you aren't staying with family this holiday season, booking a hotel doesn't need to be stressful or expensive.

1. Stay in the business district. Hotels in the coolest or most touristy areas of a city can cost way more money. If you don't mind having to travel a little further to the more popular sights, staying in a quiet business district can be much easier on the wallet.

2. Join AAA. You may already have a AAA card. But if you don't, get one. The small annual fee is totally worth it, as most hotels will give you a discount when you mention your card. You can sometimes save up to 10 percent!

3. Set a price alert. Many travel sites will allow you to set up an alert so you will be emailed daily with prices of hotels near your destination. Setting an alert can allow you to get a cheaper price without having to check the web every day.

4. Call the hotel. Hotels will sometimes give you a discount or an upgrade if you are talking directly with someone who works there. Before you book online, give them a call to see if anyone can give you a better price.

5. Promos are everywhere. If you do decide to book online, Google the name of the hotel with the word "promo". It can't hurt, and you never know what might pop up!

Hacks For: Traveling By Plane

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Flying for the holidays doesn't have to be a horrible experience — the journey can be just as enjoyable as the destination.

1. Always go left. Research shows that most people subconsciously choose to go to the right when given a choice. Make the conscious decision to go left at security and save yourself some time.

2. Wear the heavy stuff. Airlines are very strict about baggage weight limits. Make sure to wear your heaviest shoes and your bulkiest coat to save on weight and space.

3. Clear your browser. When searching for a flight online, sites will track if you've visited before or looked for a specific flight. Clear your computer's history and cookies to make sure you get the best possible deal on a flight.

4. Travel on holidays. Airports are noticeably less crowded and crazy (and flights are usually cheaper) on actual holidays. If you are going for a few days, decide to arrive on the actual holiday to save yourself a headache and some money.

5. Check-in at the curb. The holidays always bring long lines at check-in. However, for some reason, most people walk right by the incredibly short curbside check-in line. Check your bags outside, and you'll be on your way to security much faster.

Hacks For: Traveling By Train

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Plenty of people do their holiday traveling by train, but it doesn't have to be a stressful experience.

1. Use a membership card. Most train companies offer discounts for senior citizens, AAA members, veterans and members of the military, and certain students. Keep an eye out for a place on their website where you can check off this discount box.

2. Know when to train it. While the train can definitely be less expensive for shorter trips, it can actually be more than a flight for longer distances. Unless you really want to take in the sights, train is not necessarily the best (or least expensive) option for far travel.

3. Avoid the peak. Not only are trains more crowded during peak hours, but the prices are quite often higher as well. Pay close attention to your train time and try to choose an off-peak option. This can save you quite a bit, especially if traveling with the whole family.

4. Don't settle for the first bathroom. Trains often have many options when it comes to bathrooms. But most people don't realize that they aren't all necessarily the same. Rather than waiting on a line, or cramming into a tiny bathroom, walk a few cars down and use the larger, handicapped bathroom.

Hacks For: Renting A Car

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

When traveling, you quite often need the use of a rental car. Just don't let the prices or the stress get too out of hand.

1. Avoid the airport. Whenever possible, don't rent your car from the airport. Because the airport charges rental companies large fees, they in turn are passing those along to you. These higher prices can add up, especially if you are renting for multiple days.

2. Don't pay in advance. There are plenty of rental companies that won't require you to pay up front. This is ideal because it allows you to keep searching for an even better deal, and won't cost you a cancellation fee if you find one.

3. Book for a peak time. It might sound crazy, but if you book a rental for the busiest time (like Monday morning or Friday evening), you are more likely to end up with a free upgrade. If you don't mind the wait, this can be an easy way to get a much nicer car.

4. Check on extra days. For some reason, certain rental companies will actually offer discounts if you rent for a certain number of days. In some cases, it can actually be cheaper to rent a car for five days instead of four. Check prices for a bunch of different time lengths to see if you get lucky.

Hacks For: Traveling By Bus

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

The bus can be a quick and inexpensive way to travel for the holidays. Just don't let it make you crazy...

1. Put your phone in a Ziploc. Bus rides can be long and boring, and almost certainly won't be playing a movie. Put your smart phone in a Ziploc bag, hang it from the coat hook on the seat in front of you, and watch a movie or your favorite TV show. This is a great distraction for antsy kids, too!

2. Store your bag up and in front. Rather than putting your bag on the rack directly overhead, put it over the person in front of you. This will allow you to keep your eye on the bag the entire trip.

3. Look for the $1 deal. Many bus lines such as Bolt Bus and Mega Bus offer tickets for dirt-cheap if you book far enough in advance. If you know you'll be traveling by bus for the holiday, check these discount bus sights extremelyearly — you may just get lucky with an amazing deal.

4. Always wear a sweatshirt. Airlines usually will offer you a pillow or a blanket, but not bus lines. Wearing a sweatshirt is key for when the bus is uncomfortably cold. And when it's not, you can use your sweatshirt as a handy pillow. Just make sure you've snagged that window seat.

Hacks For: Booking Travel

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Knowing when to book can be crucial to getting you the best rate on a hotel or travel ticket.

1. Book early. By booking a hotel or flight early, you can save a significant amount on rates. Particularly at the holidays, rates will go up as your travel date gets closer.

2. Book as late as possible. On the other hand, if you can wait until the absolute last minute, you can save money on hotels that still have available rooms for the same day. This isn't always the most reliable method, but it can be the most cost-effective.

3. Book on a Tuesday or Thursday. While there is much conflicting information out there about what day to book travel, studies have shown that Tuesday afternoons and Thursdays are the times when you are most likely to get a cheaper rate on a flight.

4. Book for a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. If your travel dates are somewhat flexible, studies have found that the days that generally offer the cheapest rates on flights are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Fridays and Sundays tend to be much more pricey.

Hacks For: Traveling With Gifts

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Holiday shopping is stressful enough without having to worry about how to get your gifts to their destination.

1. Order online. Many websites allow you to purchase gifts and have them sent anywhere in the country for the exact same price. Shop online and simply have your gifts sent directly to your destination. This will also save you the trouble of traveling with presents.

2. Ship instead of carry. Extra checked bags can cost just as much as shipping. Instead of bringing an extra suitcase for presents, simply pack them in a box and have them shipped. You can save money, and you'll have one less bag to carry.

3. Don't wrap the gifts. If you have the option, wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap your gifts. If airport security needs to examine your bags, they may have to open your wrapped presents to see what is inside. Save yourself the trouble of having to wrap twice.

4. Carry on the valuables. Any presents that go in your checked bag should be packed securely, ideally with bubble wrap. But if anything is extremely delicate or valuable, carry it on with you. At least you'll be able to travel knowing your expensive gift is in good hands.

Hacks For: Timing Your Travels

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

The day of travel can be the most stressful of all. But paying attention to time can help alleviate your anxiety.

1. Plan your route. There is nothing worse than missing your plane, train, or bus. Make sure to scout out your route well in advance, leaving yourself plenty of time in case of traffic or detour.

2. Always be early. Around the holidays, you never know how long it will take to check-in, go through security, or get to your gate. Always arrive extremely early. Leave yourself plenty of time to grab a seat in the waiting area, and maybe even peruse the gift shop.

3. Arrange a ride. One of the worst things about arriving at your destination is waiting around for your ride to show up. Do the work for them in advance. Make sure they know how long it will take to get from their home to you, and send them your flight number so they can monitor your arrival time while you are in the air.

Hacks For: Packing

LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Packing is everything. Set yourself up for travel success right from the get-go.

1. Remove the caps of any messy bathroom items. Put a small piece of plastic wrap over the opening, and replace the cap. You definitely don't want to start your trip off on the wrong foot with a leak in your suitcase.

2. Roll it up. You can save yourself a ton of space in your suitcase by rolling clothes instead of folding them. This has the added bonus of causing less wrinkles in your clothes.

3. Pack a shower cap. Instead of allowing dirty shoes to mess up your clothes or your nice suitcase, slip a disposable shower cap over the bottom of them. And while you're at it, store your socks inside your shoes to save space.

4. Use a dryer sheet. Ensure that your clothes smell fresh the minute you put them on at your destination. Throwing a dryer sheet in your suitcase can leave you smelling your absolute best throughout the holidays.

These incredible travel hacks can save you money and keep you sane during the holiday season! Which of these holiday travel hacks will you be trying this year? Let us know in the comments.

Please SHARE these amazing hacks with friends and family!

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