The Best Day to Book Your Holiday Flight… and Other Insider Travel Tips

While it made for a funny movie in Home Alone, avoid holiday travel fiascos with these tips.

In Home Alone, holiday travel turned into a nightmare for the McAllister family (twice!), but it doesn't have to be that harried.

Related: How to Make the Gas in Your Car Last

If you plan to travel around the holidays, chances are that you're already thinking about airline prices, redeeming your miles and traffic patterns. It's enough to make your eyes glaze over. We caught up with travel industry insiders at companies like Expedia and Hertz so you can plan this year's holiday trip like a seasoned travel agent. Just think about all of the holiday shopping you can do with the time and money (and sanity) you'll save--you'll be shocked at how simple some of these tips are!

Related: 7 Free Mobile Apps That Make Traveling Easy

Which travel days could save you 10 to 15 percent this Christmas?
With Christmas on a Tuesday this year it will save money if you can extend your vacation by arriving earlier, particularly Wednesday or Thursday before and departing after the 26th. Our experts estimate that if you book with these dates as early as October you could see savings of 10 to 15 percent versus arriving the weekend before and departing on Wednesday the 26th.

Truth or Myth: Tuesday is the best day to book airline tickets?
Truth! Tuesday is the best day of the week to book tickets, the earlier the better. This is because airlines tend to load a lot of deals and new inventory Tuesday at 12 a.m.

Can you save money based on the airport?
The more flexibility you have the better, but not just with dates. If you're willing to look at other airports near your destination, you may find better prices. For example, according to our experts, flying through LaGuardia Airport in New York City rather than Newark or JFK can save you 15 to 30 percent, depending on the time of the year.

How do you earn extra travel points and award miles?
Racking up more airline points is as simple as shopping online (hello, gifts!), as long as you click through a retailer's website from an online mileage mall. To make it even easier, Brian Kelly (aka The Points Guy) has a list with links to the various online shopping portals that will earn you extra points for your online purchases on his site.

How can you save money at the airport?

Limit yourself to just your carry on by shipping things like clothes and gifts ahead of time. The shipping costs may be less than the baggage fees and will help you cut down on unnecessary packing. Shipping gifts ahead of time means you don't have to un-wrap them at the security checkpoint, too. When all you're left with is your carry on, getting through the airport will be a cinch.

What can you do to save on your rental car?

As a good rule of thumb, if you need a car book it with your airfare--don't wait. Like airfare, the further in advance you book your rental, the best chance you have of getting the best rate and chances are better that you'll get the right car (if not, you risk paying more for a car that won't end up meeting your needs). The longer you wait, the higher the price. Following car rental companies on Facebook and Twitter will give you the inside track on special offers.

Want even more insider tips? Click here to learn how to upgrade your flight for less, find out what to pack in your carry on and more!

Do you have any traveling secrets? We want to know!

Photo Credit: Hughes Entertainment