Travel Tips for the Holidays:
If you have not purchased holiday airfare yet, do it today!
Ed.Note: This post has been updated with 2017/18 travel data.
You might think there is no hope of scoring a bargain for holiday travel. Fear not, dear traveler! There is hope, though it may have to wait for next year, depending on when you’re reading this.
For the most part, ticket prices remain relatively flat up until four weeks ahead of your departure date. In terms that are easier to remember: If you’ve already seen Halloween Trick-or-Treaters, prices for Thanksgiving travel are already going up. And if you’ve already cooked that Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas travel is getting more expensive by the minute. There’s still a little time for December and January trips, though, provided you act fast. Generally, there are big price hikes every week – sometimes every day – closer to your departure.
When to Buy Holiday Tickets
We love the data miners over at CheapAir.com, because they love big data. They practically swim in facts and figures all year long, tracking millions of ticket prices. In their 2018 Airfare Study, they determined that the best pricing for winter flights is 62 days prior to your target date. However, they also identified a “Prime Booking Window” from 21 to 121 days out. So, even if you’ve missed the 62 day mark, you might still find some low prices. But be warned: prices for holiday travel are already higher than other times of the year.
Side Note: CheapAir’s study also determined that, while there is no “best day to buy” airfare in terms of saving money, there are better days to fly: Tuesday and Wednesday are the days with the lowest fares, while Sundays see the highest prices. Obviously, this may change slightly during holiday weeks, but if you can travel the Tuesday or Wednesday before and after, you’ll save some hard-earned cash.
Almost everyone would tell you that, when it comes to holiday travel, all bets are off. Much like retailers live for Black Friday, the airlines are betting that you’re going to want to fly home to see Nana next month. They’ve already set price models in place for that, which means the very best time to buy airline tickets was probably months ago. That’s not to say you can’t still find a good deal, but every day you put it off, the odds shift ever not in your favor.
Have you booked your holiday travel yet? Do you have tips on getting holiday travel deals, or anything else to share? Let us hear about it in the Comments!
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