SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The holiday season is a great time to get together with family and friends, however, traveling when airline prices are high can be challenging.
Thanksgiving and Christmas time typically brings high travel demand with surging prices, even with the pandemic-related travel boom.
Airfare prices have risen 42.9% from September 2021 to September 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Price Index.
The high prices are due to airlines dropping flights, the cost of fuel, and high demand.
However, there are some smart tips that can help you hack the holiday season.
Book your flight early
This may be an obvious tip, however, it’s always important to remember to book your flight as soon as possible.
According to data from Hopper, travelers who start planning their trip as early as possible can save as much as 18 percent off domestic airfare and 15 percent off international airfare for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This year, most travelers will find a $350 ticket a good deal for a domestic Thanksgiving flight, and a $463 ticket a good deal for a domestic Christmas flight.
Airfare prices are higher than ever, and when booking early, Hopper suggests you could save $60 – $80 off domestic flights and $120 – $195 off international flights.
In order to save stress and estimate when the best time is, the earlier the better. Travel apps like Hopper and Google Flights can help you estimate when is the best time to fly.
Travel on ‘off days’
The most popular days of the week to travel are Fridays and the weekend.
Take an early day off from work and save yourself the stress and holiday hustle and bustle by traveling on an off day.
Traveling on a weekday tends to be cheaper and around the holidays, you will want to avoid the Sunday before and after Thanksgiving.
Sometimes traveling on the holiday itself can be cheaper.
Look for airports nearby
When traveling to major metropolitan destinations like New York City, Atlanta and Chicago, you have the options to choose from multiple airports.
Even though the airport you wanted to go to may be a bit closer, it’s worth looking at other airports to see if prices aren’t as high.
It’s always worth the search for a secondary airport that serves the area you’re planning to travel to, especially on the holidays.
Take advantage of Google Flights’ Explore function
If you don’t have a set location on where to travel for the holidays but want to plan a vacation somewhere, Google Flights’ Explore function is a useful tool.
Its website shows you the top travel destinations with the cheapest airfare from wherever you are.
In the explore function, you can search for specific or flexible dates within a given month. Google Flights also allows you to set a fare alert so you can see when the price of the ticket drops or rises.
Make the most of travel rewards
When traveling, you can rack up a lot of points and miles and the best time to use those are during the holidays.
According to data from Nerd Wallet, a data-driven analysis of 15 airlines shows that the best airlines with the highest cents per mile are Jet Blue, Delta, American, and Southwest airlines with an average of 1.5 cents per mile.
If you have traveled quite frequently within the past year, you might want to rack in your travel points or miles and use them towards your holiday airfare ticket.