Halloween has come and gone, and we are officially, deeply entrenched in the holiday season. (It comes earlier and earlier every year…) That means that Thanksgiving is next on the docket, and Google search analysts say that the best time to buy your Thanksgiving plane tickets is three months in advance.
So, obviously, you already have your travel booked.
Oh, what’s that? You’re a normal human being and not a perfect deal-monitoring super-planner ninja? In that case, here are some tips to keep in mind as you figure out your travel during Thanksgiving.
- Buy now!
The three-month mark is well behind us, but at this point, the longer you wait to buy your plane tickets, the more you’re going to pay. So sit your family and/or friends down and figure out exactly who’s hosting and how many beds they have to spare, then reserve your Thanksgiving travel as soon as humanly possible.
Here are some scary numbers to motivate you: According to Google, the best time to buy Thanksgiving plane tickets is in August and September. By October, prices go up 95% on average. And now that we’re in November, prices will go up another 30% with even bigger price hikes in the seven days leading up to the holiday.
Seriously, buy now – or plan to hit your local Chinese restaurant.
- Leave late.
Everyone assumes that traveling the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the highest cost, but it turns out that Tuesday will be just as bad this year. Assuming that you can’t afford to take a whole week off of work, you might be best served by leaving as early as possible on Thursday morning. You’ll save a bit of cash, and you’ll still make it home (or wherever you may be going) in time for dinner.
Of course, if you can afford to take extra time off work, your best prices will likely be the Wednesday or Thursday before Thanksgiving.
- Stay late.
Even more than your departure date, your return date is likely to be the factor that drives up your ticket price the most. Whatever you do, avoid flying home on Sunday, the most in-demand travel day around Thanksgiving. If you can hold off until Monday – or even better, Wednesday – you’ll see your ticket costs go down substantially.
- Use those points.
If you haven’t already done your research on travel credit cards, now may be the time. With cleverly utilized signup bonuses, you can save big on your travel simply by putting purchases you would make anyway on new credit cards. Just watch out for travel black out dates and make sure you follow all the rules to maximize your bonuses and avoid annual fees.
And remember that if you’re traveling internationally this holiday season, your flight costs might not be so crazy, but you’ll need to stay on top of your passports and visas. If you just realized that your passport is going to expire in the next six months, don’t take any chances. We can help you get expedited passports and visas in time for the holidays. Call today to learn more.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.