When is the best time to book holiday flights?
Flying during the holidays can often be a hassle, especially when you have to deal with increased airfare, limited availability, and busy airports. To make your holiday travel experience as smooth as possible, it’s vital to know the best time to book your flight. In this detailed guide, we will explore the optimal times for securing flights for various holidays and deliver essential tips for saving money on airfare. Please keep in mind that airlines and prices can vary based on numerous factors, including destination, departure city, and time of booking. To help you navigate these variables, we’ve narrowed down suggestions into 10 specially dedicated sections.
1. General Tips for Booking Holiday Flights
Before diving into specific holidays, let’s touch upon some general tips for booking flights for any holiday. By following these strategies, you’re more likely to find affordable fares and secure your preferred travel dates. These tips apply to most holidays and are an excellent starting point before refining your search.
Booking your holiday flights can be a tricky endeavor, but not an impossible one if you know what to look for and how to approach it. Consider these variables when facing this challenge, such as booking early to take advantage of lower fares or using fare alerts to monitor flight prices. Deploying these tactics into your flight search strategy will likely save you stress and money.
Your booking success may also depend on your flexibility with travel dates and what days of the week you choose to fly. Research shows that traveling on the primary holiday dates themselves, being more open to layovers, and flying during off-peak hours will improve your chances of finding better deals. With these guidelines in mind, let’s review each tip—as well as additional recommendations—more thoroughly.
Let’s take a look at these general tips:
- Book early: Generally, booking three months in advance is best for snagging lower prices.
- Set up fare alerts: Use tools like Google Flights or Skyscanner to keep an eye on price changes for your desired route.
- Avoid peak travel days: Consider flying on less popular days or times, mid-week, or during off-peak hours.
- Be flexible with dates: Shifting your travel dates by a day or two can sometimes make a significant difference in airfare.
- Opt for layovers: Non-stop flights are convenient but often more expensive; be open to layovers to save money.
- Browse using incognito mode: Some websites track your searches and may increase prices based on your browsing history. Browse in incognito mode to avoid this.
2. Booking Flights for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel periods in the United States, which means high demand and increased airfare. If you’re planning a trip for Thanksgiving, start looking into flights no later than September. Ideally, you should aim to book your flight between 30 and 60 days prior to departure.
With everyone racing to beat the holiday rush, airports are often overcrowded during Thanksgiving week, especially on Wednesday before and Sunday after the holiday. Flying on Thanksgiving Day itself typically delivers cheaper fares and lighter traffic. It pays to be flexible and consider less popular travel days or times.
If you’re committed to saving money on airfare, lean into an early morning or late-night departure when booking your Thanksgiving flight. Not only will these flights generally be less crowded, but they’re also more likely to have lower fares due to reduced demand. Another worthwhile consideration is to select a connecting flight rather than a direct route, as they are usually cheaper.
Here are additional tips for Thanksgiving travel:
- Book between September and October to secure the best fares.
- Aim to reserve your flight 30 to 60 days prior to departure.
- Travel on less popular days, such as the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
- Fly on Thanksgiving Day for lighter traffic and potentially lower prices.
- Select early morning or late-night flights to avoid peak travel times.
- Choose a connecting flight over a direct route for cost savings.
3. Booking Flights for Christmas
Christmas, much like Thanksgiving, is a high-demand holiday that can result in sky-high flight prices. To improve your odds of finding reasonably priced tickets, plan to book your flights by early November, giving you enough time to monitor fare trends and compare multiple options.
Think about choosing lesser-traveled days and times when planning your Christmas trip. Many travelers favor flying out on the weekend before Christmas Day, a particularly busy time at airports. Conversely, departing on Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day can bring lower fares and calmer airport conditions.
You needn’t feel hemmed in by expensive airfare during the holidays. Be proactive about flight searches leading up to prime booking windows and remain open to certain date adjustments. Keep an eye on prices from late October through early November, maintaining flexibility with dates while setting fare notifications on your preferred travel routes.
These bullet points summarize booking flights for Christmas:
- Start looking for deals as early as September but aim to reserve by November.
- Consider traveling on less popular days, such as Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
- Avoid the weekend before Christmas, which typically sees high traffic.
- Monitor fare trends leading up to prime booking windows.
- Set up fare alerts on your desired routes.
- Stay open to date and time adjustments that could yield better deals.
Summary Table: | Holiday | Ideal Booking Window | Recommended Travel Days | Additional Tips | |—————|———————-|———————————-|—————————————————–| | Thanksgiving | September to October | Monday, Tuesday, or Thanksgiving Day | Book early mornings or late nights; opt for layovers | | Christmas | Early November | Christmas Eve, Christmas Day | Continually monitor fares; stay flexible with dates | By considering these suggestions and strategies when booking your holiday flights, you’ll increase the likelihood of finding affordable tickets during peak travel seasons. Remember to remain adaptable in your travel plans and favor less popular days or times to score the best deals. Happy travels!