A new report from AAA reveals that while many travelers haven’t started thinking about flying for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the start of the best booking window is approaching fast.
AAA Travel’s flight booking data showed that over the last three years, September 25 marked the beginning of the rush to book air travel around both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
For travelers looking to get the most bang for their buck this holiday season, AAA recommends to start researching options now, book flights by October 27, consult a travel agent and consider purchasing travel insurance for your trip.
“Holiday travelers should make their plans now and begin booking their flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas as early as Wednesday, September 25 for the best deals and availability,” AAA Travel vice president Paula Twidale said in a statement. “Procrastinating travelers may be able to find last-minute deals on flights close to the holidays, as airlines look to fill their last few remaining seats, but flight availability for these peak travel weeks will be very limited by that time.”
When it comes to Thanksgiving, most travelers book their flights between September 25 and October 27, but research shows the best deals will be available between seven and 13 days before the holiday this year. Options may be limited, though.
In terms of congestion and cost, the Monday of Thanksgiving week is the best option, with ticket prices averaging $486 and less congestion at airports. For travelers more concerned about the crowds, the Sunday before the holiday is consistently the lightest travel day.
As for the Christmas travelers, AAA found that booking your winter holiday flights between September 26 and October 25 will provide consumers with lower prices on average ($551) than more advanced bookings.
Last-minute Christmas travel bookers can find the overall best pricing ($488) seven to 13 days before the holiday week, but flight availability is likely to be limited. Travelers departing in the days before Christmas will pay an average of $593 on December 21, $639 on December 22 and $603 on December 23.
The research also found that Christmas Eve is the best day to travel, with the lowest average price per ticket ($527) and the lightest travel day of the week.