The holiday season is here! In less than a month, we’ll be well within the season of spending. That also means travel plans are in the air. If you’re planning to travel during the upcoming holidays, you should have the 411 on the best travel dates for this holiday season.
Travel has now fully recovered since the pandemic, which means the upcoming holidays will bear some of the highest numbers of people flying for the first time in the last few years. Flights will likely be limited. We recommend booking domestic flights at least two to three months in advance, and you should book even sooner for international flights.
Ideally, you’ve already booked your flights, but if you haven’t and you’re planning to fly for the holiday, here’s what you need to know.
The Best Dates for Thanksgiving Travel
- Book your Thanksgiving flight before Halloween (this should be the latest you book). Booking later will only get you high prices and poor flights with bad connection times and seats.
- During the week of Thanksgiving, airfare will be 12% higher than the previous year.
- The Monday before Thanksgiving is the best-priced day to fly.
- The Friday after Thanksgiving is the day with the best bargain prices, with tickets currently $100 less, on average, than any other day during Thanksgiving week.
- The most crowded flights during Thanksgiving over the past few years have been the Sunday following Thanksgiving. The least crowded day is Thanksgiving Day.
So, the best days to fly for Thanksgiving are the Monday before and the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday).
The Best Dates for Christmas Travel
- Book your flight before Thanksgiving (this should be the latest you book). Booking later will only get you high prices and poor flights with bad connection times and seats.
- The most expensive days to fly are the Friday and Saturday before Christmas.
- Christmas falls on a Monday, but the best-priced day to fly will be Sunday, Christmas Eve. Flying on this day or Christmas Day will save you about $120 versus traveling on Friday or Saturday. Thursday and Friday after Christmas make good return days.
- Avoid the two days before Christmas Eve, and the Monday and Tuesday after Christmas. These will be extremely crowded traveling days
So, the best days to fly for Christmas are Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and the Thursday and Friday after Christmas.
The Best Dates for New Year’s Travel
New Year’s travel won’t be much of an issue. New Year’s Day is on a Monday and is usually an inexpensive day to travel. So, whether you fly on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, you’ll spend about the same amount of money.
Additional Travel Tips:
Flexibility may be your friend if you’ve yet to book your holiday travel flights. Consider flying into an airport a little further from your destination that you could easily drive from.
Booking with online travel agencies like Expedia and Priceline are usually good options. However, sometimes, you need to avoid the middleman in the event your flight is delayed or canceled. In this case, booking directly with the airline is good, as every second counts during the holidays.
The Bottom Line
You already know how extremely busy and expensive the holiday season can be. Preparation is the key. If you know you will be traveling any time during the holiday, booking your travel reservations now is highly recommended. Don’t delay. It’s always less expensive to book sooner than later. You get better prices, better seats, and less crowds. Overall, this makes for a much better start to the holiday vacation you’ve been dreaming about since last year and brings a happy ending to a much-needed getaway. Happy travels!
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