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Year-End Holiday and Christmas Airfares and Student Travel Planning

Making the Most of Student Travel Discounts Over the Christmas Holidays

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Air Travel Calendar for Best Christmas Airfares

Calendar for Best Christmas Airfares

© Priceine
The Christmas holidays can be an spendy time to travel; most of the student travel discounts you can find during the rest of the year kinda apply to Christmas travel, though, with a few much lamented exceptions (no standby tickets from Airtran during Christmas, for instance). Take heart and check out the holiday and student (and regular) student travel discounts you can use for Christmas airfares and more.

Christmas Airfares

if your student travel plans involve flying home or elsewhere around the Christmas holiday, use some smart tools to plan your holiday air travel and take advantage of student discounts on Christmas airfares.

First, build the holiday air travel toolkit:

  • Orbitz's travel cost comparison tool or Priceline's calendar (screenshot at right)
  • Student travel airfare finders
  • Mark Kahler's "airport shopping" budget flight planning

    Start with Orbitz's holiday travel calendar tool or just take a look at Priceline's calendar (screenshot at upper right), which shows us that December 10-14, 16 and 18 seem (all these dates are somewhat guesstimations, of course) are low/normal Christmas airfares days ($) in 2012 and 2013; December 15, 17, 19, 24, 29 and 31 and January 1-2 are a bit more "off-peak" travel days ($$), though still spendier than normal, and December 20-23, 25-28 and 30 (which is the Sunday that break ends) are expensive days ($$$). Choose a low-normal day -- even if you get a student airfare, it's still going to be the best day(s) to fly. Christmas day itself can net you a dyno Christmas airfare at the last minute -- and a holiday is not a bad day to fly if you must! If you can't fly on a low-normal day, consider driving or taking the bus or train -- you get student discounts on Greyhound and Amtrak -- more on all that below).

    Check an aggregator for the best airfare deals on those days, and compare the cost to that of a student airfare (remember that deals exist just for students, even at Christmas).

    For instance, student travel agency STA if offering a very fair fare right now as a Christmas travle special: $45 one way domestic flights. Not bad. There are plenty of other airfare deals for students around the holidays that may work for you -- go straight to the STA airfare special or see all current student airfare specials.

    About's Guide to Budget Travel, Mark Kahler, tells us that we may find a great deal at a smaller airport rather than a hub. He uses a Cincinatti-Birmingham example -- by driving 100 miles to Lousiville, KY, instead of using the Cincinatti airport, he saves $218 (from $306 to $88 round trip). If you drive a guzzler, calculate gas prices before making this a must-do.

Greyhound Discounts

As far as we know, the usual Greyhound student discount of 15 percent applies over the Christmas holidays -- but be prepared to be flexible... if you live in the boonies, this may mean hanging out by the side of the road with your bags until the next bus comes by. Know that you do need to be a Student Advantage member, but you don't have to have the actual card in hand (like if you buy it online the day you travel, even Christmas day).

Learn more about all the cheap bus options in the US, too:

Amtrak Student Discounts

Amtrak student discounts of 15 percent are bonus any time of year and, as opposed to Greyhound, you can reserve. If you wait until the last minute -- well, train stations are okay places to hang out and wait for the next train if you have to.. And trains are waaay cooler modes of transport than buses.

Driving in the US

Okay -- no discounts if you're driving. Do make sure that road trip is as cheap as you can make it without totally depriving yourself, though:

Avoid Air Travel Stress!

A final travel tip: don't let the travel stress you -- you will get there.

Air travel de-stress tips:

    "A good holiday is one that is spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours."
    -- J. B. Priestley
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