Travel
October 8, 2016

When is the Best Time to Purchase Holiday Air Travel?

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

The holiday season is fast approaching and if you are like me, you have yet to book your plane tickets. I am constantly eyeing flight prices and like to wait until the cheapest fare comes out. Although, at times I wait too long and my wallet suffers. So when is the best time to book that holiday trip? Hint: NOW.

It is well-known that the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving tends to be the busiest air travel day of the year, which also means steep prices. If flexibility allows, try and fly earlier in the week or on Thanksgiving day. The flights will be cheaper and there will be fewer delays. If you must fly on the day before Thanksgiving, look for early flights or red-eyes, these flights tend to be the cheapest option during peak holiday travel. In addition, if you can wait to fly home on the Monday after Thanksgiving you will save a significant amount. Don’t wait to book, when it comes to Thanksgiving travel airlines do not offer last-minute deals.

If you are traveling around Christmas you will have a much easier time finding a reasonable fare due to the fact that the window of travel typically spans two weeks. Like Thanksgiving travel, if you are able to travel on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day you will be able to find discounted fares. If that is not an option, try flying prior to Dec. 20 and/or after Dec. 30. If New Year’s Eve isn’t your thing, flying late on Dec. 31 or early on Jan. 1 will save you a ton of money!

Another incredible money-saving option is the name your own price tool through Priceline. By bidding on your flight you can get up to 40% off! All flights have no more than one connection and depart between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Priceline is so confident you will get a great deal they will pay you $25 if you don’t! So if you are willing to gamble a bit this option will get you to your holiday destination with a little extra money in your pocket.

  • When it comes to the holidays, earlier is typically better. A great way to watch holiday fares is to sign up for flight price alerts, and Orbitz goes as far as alerting you to a drop in price on your preferred airline, which can help you obtain those sought-after frequent flyer miles.
  • Book on a Tuesday or Wednesday – airlines provide their best fares early in the week.
  • Be flexible with travel time – red-eye and early morning flights tend to be the least-expensive during the holidays.
  • If possible travel on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
  • Use the Priceline bidding tool and save big!
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