If you’ve gone shopping anywhere in the past week or so, you’ve likely seen Halloween stuff on shelves, so of course, we’re already thinking the holidays are going to be right around the corner.
If you’re like many people, when Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's roll around, you’re traveling — and quite possibly flying — to spend the holidays with family or friends. We’ve tracked down the best dates to start planning and booking those trips.
First of all, if you’re flying and don’t mind traveling on the actual holiday, that will yield the cheapest rate, according to Expedia.com.
If that’s not the ideal way for you to go, here’s the travel website’s best recommendations, based on 2018’s flight demand.
If you’re thinking about flying somewhere for Thanksgiving:
- The cheapest time to buy is Oct. 29 through Nov. 13. Booking two weeks to a month in advance of your trip can save you more than 5%.
- People who book more than 91 days out or less than a week before the trip paid more than 20% on average, so if you’re the type to book WAY in advance or wait until the very last minute, you might reconsider.
- Traveling on Thanksgiving saved travelers about $100 less than those who flew out on the Saturday before the holiday. The next cheapest option, however, would be starting your trip Monday or Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.
If you’re thinking about flying somewhere for Christmas:
- Booking between Nov. 23 and Dec. 9 can save travelers about 15% on their flight.
- Similar to Thanksgiving travel, people who book more than 91 days out or less than a week before the trip paid about 15% more than the average holiday traveler.
- If you’re up for flying on Christmas Eve, you’ll pay about $100 less than those who fly out the Saturday before. The next cheapest option is to begin your trip on Dec. 23.
Expedia had some other suggestions for those considering traveling this holiday season.
- Set up price alerts for favorite hotels.
- Work with rewards programs to collect points that can help redeem on air, hotel and package bookings.
- Double-check blackout dates if you’re planning to use a companion ticket.
- Prepare your travel documents. Processing for new U.S. passports can take up to eight weeks.
- Consider enrolling in TSA Precheck or Clear.
- Mark your calendar for sales, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Nov. 29 through Dec. 2.
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