How to keep the cost of holiday travel under control
Holiday travel can be the stuff of nightmares (or classic comedies). It can also be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Following these travel tips can help make your holiday odyssey more affordable.
Pick the right time to book
The day you travel can make a big difference in how much your trip will cost. So can the day you book your flight.
When it comes to booking, The New York Times reports:
For Thanksgiving travel, you’re in friendly booking territory during the month of October. But make sure you have Halloween circled on your calendar if you want to lock in the lowest fares. You’ll start to see prices climb slowly beginning in November, and then more so as the month progresses.
“Prices will really begin spiking by $10 per day during the final two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving,” Patrick Surry, the chief data scientist for Hopper said.
As for Christmas, you’ve already missed the best time to book. But you aren’t at the worst time just yet. From the Times:
“Based on Hopper’s historical data, the best time to book Christmas flights is about 83 days before departure, which is the first week of October. Prices begin rising by about $4 per day around Thanksgiving, and then by about $7 per day in the final two weeks,” Mr. Surry said.
Don’t be afraid to comparison shop. Smarter Travel writes:
For many travelers, price isn’t the only or even the most important factor, especially during the holidays. Thoughtful, deliberate use of the “search adjacent days or airports” features found on many websites may also surrender greatly improved fares and travel times.
Pick the right travel day
Think carefully about how flexible you are. Flexibility can pay off, the Times reports:
Regarding Thanksgiving, the most expensive day to depart is the Wednesday before, which should not come as a surprise as it’s also one of the busiest travel days of the year. But if you are able to leave on the Monday or the Thursday of that week you can save around $50 on the first leg of your trip. The same goes for your return day. The busiest and most expensive day to come back is Sunday. But you can save around $160 by returning on Wednesday, Nov. 29, instead, Mr. Surry said.
For Christmas this year, the cheapest days to depart are Saturday, Dec. 16, or Tuesday, Dec. 19, which can save you about $110 compared to traveling on the busiest day, which is Friday, Dec. 22. The most popular return day is New Year’s Day, and returning on Thursday, Jan. 4, instead could save you around $100, according to Hopper’s data.