Visiting loved ones is a holiday staple for many families, and many people enjoy simply spending the holidays away from home (perhaps to enjoy milder weather). In spite of its annual allure, holiday travel doesn't always come cheap. Gas prices often rise when large numbers of people travel. The cost of flights may be more than a family of four can afford. Hotels may be out of the question, and family members may not have room to put up visitors.

Those expenses may have some wondering if they'll be able to enjoy their traditional travel this year. In the spirit of giving, providers of CareOne Credit Counseling Services are offering tips on cheap holiday travel options, showing some consumers how to turn this year's financial doubts into a successful, and affordable, trip.

"Skipping holiday travel isn't an option for many families," says CareOne Credit Counseling Services Spokesperson Clarky Davis. "Rather than cutting back on other holiday expenses in order to visit family and friends or go on a family's typical holiday vacation, people can save money on the ways they're used to traveling instead. They may find they don't have to sacrifice as much as they thought."

Agencies providing CareOne Credit Counseling Services offer the following cheap holiday travel ideas and tips to help consumers enjoy their holidays wherever they may be:

1. Rent a car - If traveling on a road trip, rent a small car that's more fuel-efficient than the family car (whether it be an old gas guzzler or simply something larger than needed for this trip).

2. Watch flight prices in advance - Some say that booking a flight on a Wednesday will get the best deal, and others swear by Tuesday nights. The only way to know the pricing trends for a particular flight is to start monitoring the prices on several travel sites (or airlines' own sites) well in advance. Watch how they fluctuate during the weeks, and aim to book the flight at the most affordable time based on those trends.

3. Forget the hotel - Rent an efficiency apartment instead. They can cost about as much as a hotel (and sometimes less). One of the biggest benefits though is that outside food and drinks can be brought in and prepared, saving a lot of money over room service and constantly eating out.

4. Take your foot off the pedal - Using cruise control during highway driving can help the driver maintain a consistent speed (not to mention giving them a break on a long trip). Maintaining a consistent speed is one of the easiest things drivers can do to maximize their car's fuel efficiency while driving.

5. Look for online bargains - Those in need of a full travel package (hotel, rental car, flight, etc.) may find the best deals through websites that allow the consumer to comparison-shop airlines and hotels. While the instinct for site visitors may be to immediately search for their desired trip details, some of these travel sites also feature pre-assembled package deals (sometimes called "vacation packages") that are even cheaper.

There's no need for consumers to go into debt over holiday travel, or sacrifice other family essentials during the holidays. Smarter travel choices can be big budget savers when planning a trip.

Author's Bio: 

CareOne Credit Counseling Services is a service mark of 3C Incorporated. CareOne agencies are industry leaders committed to providing consumers with education and debt management services related to improving and maintaining their financial health. CareOne agencies have helped over 4.5 million people pay down debts through their solid relationships with over 220,000 creditors.