If you haven’t booked your Thanksgiving travel yet we can’t really help you too much there, but for end of year holiday travel procrastinators are still in luck. According to online booking data, the best days to book are still ahead of us.
The cheapest airfares for Christmas travel will be between November 23 and December 9, according to online booking giant Expedia, which bases its estimates on historical data analyzed by the company. Booking during that window can save travelers around 15 percent.
Interestingly, those who wait until the very last minute might get dinged less than early birds (okay so all is not totally lost for Thanksgiving dawdlers). Last-minute bookers pay about 2 percent more than is typical, while hardcore planners who booked three months or more in advance of their flight paid around 15 percent more than the average holiday traveler, Expedia reported.
Online travel site Hipmunk offered similar guidance for Christmastime bookings, noting that prices will likely drop during the two-week window before the holiday and then see a sharp increase the week of.
The online booking sites had additional tips on how to get the best deals when booking holiday travel. According to Expedia, traveling on the holiday itself will often yield the cheapest rates, for those willing to fly day of. Also, avoid starting your trip on the Saturday before the holiday, which is consistently the most expensive day to fly.
Last year, travelers who flew out on Thanksgiving proper paid on average $100 less than those who departed the Saturday prior to the holiday, according to Hipmunk. The busiest travel day leading up to Thanksgiving is the day before the holiday.
As for around Christmas, Hipmunk revealed that the cheapest day to fly is traditionally Christmas Eve, followed by December 23.
There are a lot of factors that influence the rise and fall of airfares during any given day, week, or month. Expedia advises travelers to set up price alerts for flights, which you can do through booking engines such as Expedia and Google Flights.
Expedia also noted that you are likely to find better savings if you bundle your flight and hotel—whether you book your flight and hotel at the same time or come back and add a hotel later, you can save a few hundred bucks.
Book now: expedia.com.
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