As the holiday season approaches, many will scramble to locate and lock-in the best airfare rates available. But how do you find them? Here are a few tips to reduce your airfare expense around the holidays.
Be Flexible on Days
Thanksgiving weekend is one of the most expensive times of the year to travel. The majority of travelers want to or have no choice but to travel on the Wedensday prior and the Sunday after. If you are willing and able to be flexible in your travel arrangements though, you can land a better deal.
According to FareCompare the cheapest holiday travel days are:
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24)
Monday before the holiday
Tuesday after the holiday
Friday and Saturday after the holiday (varies by airline)
Christmas Day (Dec. 25)
Before Dec. 17 and after Jan. 2 (varies by airline)
Don’t Gamble, Plan Ahead
Airfares are not going to drop between now and the holidays. Sites such as Priceline and Hotwire claim to get you the lowest rates because they are selling the unsold travel inventory to last minute travelers. However, this leaves your holiday travel in limbo and you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the gamble of missing out completely. By shopping early and shopping smart you can lock-in low fares and maybe even get the windows seat.
Dare to Compare
If there is more than one airport serving your destination area, make sure to compare their prices as well. Around the holidays it may be cheaper to fly into Laguardia or Newark than JFK if traveling to New York. Or John Wayne vs LAX if visiting the Los Angeles area. Price flights to each location and always consider the cost of ground transportation if applicable when searching surrounding areas.
Sign Up for Newsletters
Just as stores lure you in with their e-newsletters, airlines are no exception. Make sure to sign-up for your most frequented airline’s newsletters and keep an eye out for promotions and discounts. It may come in the form of a 10% promo code or simply $50 off, but as we approach the holiday season, every dollar counts.