Holiday Travel Is Stressful Enough Don’t Let It Be A Burden On Your Bank Account Too
It seems as though there isn't ever that "perfect" time to book holiday travel. With such high demand guaranteed, availability
It seems as though there isn't ever that "perfect" time to book holiday travel. With such high demand guaranteed, availability can be come scarce and prices become high. However, getting the best deal doesn't have to feel like rolling dice. Start planning earlier and watch for price drops because as the old saying goes, the early bird often gets the worm.
Like Anything, Timing Is Everything
According to Condé Nast Traveler, airlines usually set their schedules 330 days in advance but, they will fiddle with exact flight times and aircraft types up until about 90 days before the departure date. So, if you're looking for the holiday season, you can start booking your flights as early as the end of January.
And, if prices go down following your purchase, most airlines will offer a refund in the form of a travel voucher or to your original payment method if you find a fare more than $10 cheaper. However, it must be in exchange for the exact same flight – dates and fare bucket.
Hotels will also typically match the lowest rate you find on another website as long as it's for the same dates and room type.
Take note that booking within 21 days of departure typically means paying higher prices. 14-day and 21-day purchases are fairly common so it's ideal to buy your tickets before those deadlines.
However, if booking early really isn't your thing, then try to book between three and seven weeks prior for domestic flights and about three months ahead for international ones. In fact, Expedia found in 2019 that booking four weeks or more before your desired travel is your best bet for saving on flights.
Because Who Wants To Travel With The Crowd?
Avoid busy travel days. Period, point, blank.
For example, booking your flight for the Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday before Thanksgiving rather than the Wednesday before can save you about 5 percent on the price, according to Expedia. And, the same goes for Christmas. The same research from Expedia reveals a 15 percent saving when traveling the first half of the week before Christmas rather than Christmas Eve or the day before that.
Holiday Should Feel Like A Holiday
It's safe to say that the security check lines will be a mad house. Heck, the entire airport will be. Save yourself time and stress by applying for expedited security programs like TSA PreCheck or Clear.
If you can, book yourself an early morning flight to avoid waiting around the airport due to delays. By flying in the morning you're avoiding the ripple effect of other delays that occur throughout the day.
Pack light. If you can fit everything into a carry-on bag, do that to avoid the possibility of lost luggage (especially if you're traveling on a connecting flight. But, if a checked bag is necessary for your travels, be sure to pack an extra set of clothing and any important medicines or items into a carry-on.
Think about your future self and begin organizing your holiday travel plans sooner than later. You deserve a break that is as stress free as possible, beginning with your travels and ending there as well.