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7 ways to hack Christmas and save money towards your next trip, without killing the Christmas spirit


If your focus is on saving money to fund your travel addiction, Christmas can seem more of an obstacle than a celebration. But there are ways to make sure the festivities won’t bust your travel budget.

Image by Juan Camilo Navia on Unsplash

Use these hacks to make sure your hard-earned cash goes towards travelling next year, and not towards paying off the ginormous credit card bill you racked up over Christmas.

We’re not promising you can have a decadent holiday season at the same time as saving enough for a round-the-world trip. Oh, if only it was that easy! This is about turning the tables on what is usually an expensive time of year and making it work to line your pockets – without going all bah humbug on Christmas!


  1. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure…

The run-up to Christmas is the time to clear your attic, sort through your wardrobe and do something with those unopened gifts from Christmases past. People are looking for bargainous Christmas presents so list your finds on eBay or Facebook Marketplace and get ready to earn some cash and feel great about clearing the cutter.


  1. Help others have a great time – for a modest fee, of course

If you can put your own social life on hold for a month, babysitting is a great way to earn easy money. Advertise your availability locally (try noticeboards in local shops, word of mouth or private local networking apps such as Nextdoor) and get paid to watch TV (and check in on sleeping kids) in someone else’s home while they go out for Christmas drinks.

“You could even run a workshop teaching people to crochet their own Christmas decorations.”


3. Get a side hustle

If you’ve got a hobby that can be monetised, now is the time to make it happen. Killer crocheter? Make some Christmas baubles to sell at a local market or from your own Etsy shop. You could even run a workshop teaching people to crochet their own Christmas decorations. Or perhaps you’re remarkably skilled at planning holidays. Set yourself up as a travel agent for your friends and family and take a percentage of the savings made by your expert holiday research!


4. Work through Christmas and New Year

If possible, take on some extra hours at work. Some jobs offer bonus pay for working on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or over New Year. If this isn’t an option with your day job, ask local bars and restaurants if they need any extra staff over the holiday period. Plus, if you’re working, chances are you’re not spending.


5. Travel when others won’t – and pay less for the privilege

Early on New Year’s Day can be a fantastically cheap time to travel, if you’re not bothered about ringing in the new year with friends (or you’re happy to fly on a hangover). Use a flight tracker such as Skyscanner to help you find the cheapest time to fly and make your travel budget stretch further. This is useful both for planning your travels for next year and if you have to travel to visit family over the holiday period.


6. If you do have to spend, do it wisely

Use cashback sites when you’re splashing the cash over Christmas. In the UK, sites such as Quidco and TopCashBack give you back a certain percentage of your total spend when you shop at certain retailers. Buy everything from gifts to the Christmas dinner through the cashback site and you have yourself a nice little earner for doing next to nothing. In a similar vein, don’t forget to use your loyalty points and supermarket savings schemes – if you’re not already signed up, register ASAP so you can take advantage of this next year.

Image by Ben White on Unsplash

7. Think carefully about the gifts you give and receive

There are lots of ways to show your loved ones you care other than buying them lots of gifts. If you usually exchange gifts with everyone in your family, try to persuade them to do Secret Santa this year, so everyone included gives and receives only one present each. Or you could donate a small amount to charity for each other, or even agree not to buy gifts at all. After all, it’s likely that you’ve all got everything you need already, and no-one needs more plastic tat.

Alternatively, get creative and make your own presents. Homemade raspberry gin and pocket-sized hand warmer anyone?

If your family insists on giving gifts, and you’re not averse to a gift list (they do make life easier for everyone involved, after all), you could register with a gift list site such as Things to get me and ask your family and friends to give you money towards specific travel experiences. It’s a simple and effective way to hack Christmas for travel funds, but be aware it may raise a few eyebrows…

Finally, if all else fails, hang your stocking on Christmas Eve and hope the Big Man will stuff it full of travellers cheques.

Alternatively, escape the whole Christmas shebang on one of the trips happening over the Christmas period.


Have you got a great way to save or even earn money over the Christmas period? We’d love to hear all about it. Please share in the comments below.