5 Tips for Booking Your Thanksgiving Flight

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Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, yet thousands of people still haven’t nailed down their travel plans yet. A recently-released survey by Hotwire.com revealed that 78 percent of people who said they were planning to travel over the holiday still hadn’t booked their flights as of October 26. Problem is, a record number of Americans — 24 million — will fly over the holidays. That means planes will be fuller than ever before, tickets will be harder to come by (and more expensive), and travelers can expect long lines at the airport, according to Airlines for America, the lead trade association for U.S. air travel. If you haven’t purchased your plane ticket yet, follow these tips.

Book your flight now. We get it — you think that if you wait until the last minute you’ll score a great deal on a plane ticket. But unfortunately this airfare-saving strategy doesn’t apply to the winter holidays. So stop procrastinating and buy your ticket.

Research fares at less-popular airports. You might have to travel a little farther to get there, but airports that are off-the-grid (and less convenient to get to) tend to be less busy. And you might even discover a slightly better fare than what’s being offered at more central airports.

Be flexible with your travel dates. If possible, avoid traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the Sunday after the holiday, which experts predict will be the two busiest travel days of the year. Beyond the hassle of the crowds, fares tend to be higher at peak travel times.

Look into alternative travel methods. The roadways will be packed and it will take you longer to get to where you’re going, but if money is a concern, driving will be cheaper than flying. If you’re not up for a road trip, research Amtrak fares to see if you can get a better deal on a train trip.

Accept it won’t be cheap. Although analysts say that airfare over Thanksgiving is slightly less expensive than during the Christmas season, average fares are still around $420, according to Priceline.com. Our best advice is to research what’s out there and book the best fare you find. Let the hit your wallet takes this year be a reminder to be more on top of your travel plans next year.

More from The Nest:

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