Budget tips for holiday travel and New Year’s Eve breaks

Ready to party? Top spots for New Year's Eve breaks
Would you consider going to Denver for New Year’s? (Photo: Evan Semón / CBS 4)

Have you ever had a truly memorable New Year’s Eve? I have, but only twice. Once we went to a fantastic party at a community hall in the mountains. There were bonfires, an outdoor ice rink and such good food (and company!) inside the hall. The other awesome New Year’s Eve break I took was to Austria. We hiked up a mountain in the dark, drank schnapps in a farmer’s barn, then tobogganed down the mountain. Without headlamps!

Budget tips for holiday travel and New Year’s Eve breaks
One thing I typically do on either New Year’s Eve or Day is take a twirl on an outdoor ice rink. (Photo: Denver’s Convention & Visitors Bureau)

New Year’s Eve breaks

While I love hibernating at home over Christmas, I’m up for travel the rest of the holiday season. There are loads of options for New Year’s Eve breaks depending on if you want to keep it casual and close to home, or nail off a bucket list item. But, any successful New Year’s Eve requires some planning.

new years eve travel
Wouldn’t it be great to be somewhere so warm over New Years you don’t have to wear jackets?

Tips for holiday and New Year’s Eve travel

According to KAYAK, the world’s leading travel search engine, Canadians are some of the most price conscious travellers in the world. Budget-conscious travellers should plan in advance to reap holiday travel deals. Luckily, there are tools that can help you save money. Here are some wallet-friendly tips that allow you to travel with confidence over the holiday period.

  1. Did you know new baggage fee rules and restrictions on carry-ons have been announced by several airlines? Layer that with the new fees for checked baggage (up to $30 from $25 on leading Canadian airlines) and you know more folks will be going the carry-on route. The solution? Use a Baggage Measurement Tool to quickly suss out if your carry-on bag can actually fit in the overhead bins of the aircraft you’re taking.  The one on the KAYAK app is awesome-snap a pic of your carry-on and the tool calculates if it’ll fit in your plane’s overhead bin. If your bag is too big, you know you’ll need to check it and pay that annoying fee.
  2. Register for price alerts. Plug in your destination and get customized updates on price decreases. I didn’t used to do this, but now I do. It just feels so good to book flights when you know you’ve scored the best deal. I’m always second guessing myself, but this is one easy way to feel confident you’re getting the best deal on flights anytime of year.
  3. Be spontaneous! If you’re not fixated on a certain destination, being flexible can save you mucho moolah. Simply input your budget, a general time frame and KAYAK’s Explore tool will tell you all the places you can go. Be forewarned, it’s highly addictive!

How to score New Year’s Eve deals

Don’t hate me, but some of these dates have passed (but not all!). Still, you’ll want to bookmark this for future reference. Typically, you want to book 5-weeks out for New Year’s Eve domestic travel. If you’re planning on going international, it’s best to plan that out 7-weeks before departure. But, to score a smokin’ deal on airfare, KAYAK found travellers found the lowest median rates when they booked on December 8 for domestic travel (median flight price of $244) and December 14th for international trips (median flight price of ($519).

Top New Year’s Eve getaways

Despite having the mountains on our doorstep, the top trending destination for New Year’s Eve travel for Calgarians is… Denver! I guess folks would rather hit up Aspen or Vail instead of good old Sunshine Village. Also trending for Calgarians over New Year’s is Mexico City and Kauai. From Mexico City it’s but a hop skip and a jump to the beaches of Puerto Vallarta (I’m taking a quick flight here.) 

New years eve getaways
I’d ski Vail or Aspen over New Year’s. Wouldn’t you? (Photo: Denver’s Convention & Visitors Bureau)

But, the most popular spots (where people are actually searching on KAYAK) for New Year’s Eve getaways are: Phoenix, Las Vegas, Cancun, Los Angeles and New York. This, I understand. It may not be for me (I’m a mountain girl at heart), but I can totally see the appeal of a city break or getting some sunshine before the January blahs set in.

Do you have plans for New Year’s Eve? What do you usually get up to?

This post is sponsored by KAYAK. As always, all opinions are my own.

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